Barriers and enablers for older adults participating in a home-based pragmatic exercise program delivered and monitored by Amazon Alexa: a qualitative study

Paul Jansons, Jackson Fyfe, Jack Dalla Via, Robin M. Daly, Eugene Gvozdenko, David Scott

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The remote delivery and monitoring of individually-tailored exercise programs using voice-controlled intelligent personal assistants (VIPAs) that support conversation-based interactions may be an acceptable alternative model of digital health delivery for older adults. The aim of this study was to evaluate the enablers and barriers for older adults participating in a home-based exercise program delivered and monitored by VIPAs. Method: This qualitative study used videoconferencing to conduct semi-structured interviews following a 12-week, prospective single-arm pilot study in 15 adults aged 60 to 89 years living alone in the community. All participants were prescribed an individualized, brief (10 min, 2–4 times per day), home-based muscle strengthening and balance exercise program delivered and monitored using an Amazon Echo Show 5 device (Alexa). Qualitative interview data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: All 15 participants (aged 70.3 ± 4.3 years, mean ± SD) attended the semi-structured interview. Themes including enjoyability and ease of use, social engagement and motivation were enablers for participation in the exercise program. Errors in voice recognition, lack of feedback, and preference for other existing digital health modes of exercise delivery were barriers associated with the Alexa technology. Conclusions: This qualitative study identified enablers and barriers associated with using an Alexa device to deliver and monitor an individualized, home-based exercise program in older adults living alone. Future interventions using VIPAs should focus on reducing technical errors, providing regular exercise feedback, and comparing participants’ experiences of exercise programs delivered by VIPAs to programs delivered via other digital health tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number248
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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