New CAST Case Study: Smart Voice Tech Makes Residents Independent

CAST | March 18, 2020 | by Donna Childress

Alexa’s natural language listening capabilities increased resident use by 30%.

LeadingAge CAST has released a new case study that shows how Alexa’s natural language listening capabilities increased residents’ device use by 30%. “Improving Resident Independence and Satisfaction through Smart Voice Technology” demonstrates the benefits of Alexa’s Name Free Skill Innovation (NFSI).

Caremerge Voice Gets Residents Talking

Friendship Village, an assisted living and memory care community in Kalamazoo, MI, partnered with Caremerge, a provider of EHR and resident engagement technology for senior living. Together, they rolled out a campus-wide voice technology platform called Caremerge Voice. Caremerge is a LeadingAge CAST Supporter.
The technology leverages the Alexa for Hospitality platform, which was designed for hotel guests, to utilize its natural language listening capabilities. Residents don’t have to prompt it with “ask my community.” They just ask their question and Alexa understands. The system is smart enough to discern which queries are for community information and which are for the public portion of the Alexa platform.
Representatives from Caremerge’s client success team helped leaders at Friendship Village launch and scale the voice technology so that residents could quickly and easily start using their devices right in their apartments. Echo Dots were installed in residents’ apartments and equipped with Caremerge Voice’s Alexa skill.
Friendship Village also gives residents and staff access to the Caremerge engagement platform via its website on tablets and desktops.


Easy Access: Caremerge’s easy-to-use technology has been embraced by tech-savvy residents who want access to the latest tools. But it’s also practical for residents who may have difficulty using other devices, such as desktops or tablets, due to low vision or fine motor issues.
Independence: Because residents can use their smart speakers in their own apartments, Caremerge’s voice technology system enables residents to be more independent and get the information they need when they want, where they want. The top ways residents use voice is to ask what and when the day’s events are, what the announcements are, what’s on the menu, and how to find another resident.
Engagement: Crucially, voice technology can increase connectivity in senior living communities and stave off feelings of isolation and loneliness among residents. Talking to Alexa every day provides a feeling of comfort and familiarity. Plus, the platform makes it easier to circulate information about activities and events so that residents can always know what’s happening in their community.


Residents at Friendship Village who used Caremerge Voice reported feeling more connected to their communities and more independent, and 100% of residents use their smart speakers on a monthly basis. The voice technology system was a natural fit in the community, which has a mix of experienced tech users and residents who have difficulties using other devices.
Friendship Village of Kalamazoo was one of the first senior living communities in the United States to use Alexa the natural way utilizing on fleet management platform with Names Free Skill Interactions (NFSI). This means that residents can use Alexa for community-specific information the same way they use it for any public facing skill. Within one week of removing “ask my community,” residents’ usage of Alexa devices increased 30%.
In addition to boosting residents’ engagement with the community, and hence their well-being, the Caremerge platform has improved conversion rates on Friendship Village’s wait lists.

See online video testimonials highlighting this project.