Everyday memory strategies for medication adherence

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Abstract

The need to manage chronic diseases and multiple medications increases for many older adults. Older adults are aware of memory declines and incorporate compensatory techniques. Everyday memory strategies used to support medication adherence were investigated. A survey distributed to 2000 households in the Atlanta metropolitan area yielded a 19.9% response rate including 354 older adults, aged 60–80 years. Older adults reported forgetting to take their medications, more so as their activity deviated from normal routines, such as unexpected activities. The majority of older adults endorsed at least two compensatory strategies, which they perceived to be more helpful in normal routines. Compensatory strategies were associated with higher education, more medications, having concern, and self-efficacy to take medications. As memory changes, older adults rely on multiple cues, and perceive reliance on multiple cues to be helpful. These data have implications for the design and successful implementation of medication reminder systems and interventions.

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