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New insight into how best to support older adults taking medication

New insight into how best to support older adults taking medication
29th June 2016

Research has suggested a potential new way to identify older adults who need additional support when it comes to taking medication.

When people age, it can become increasingly difficult for them to remember when and which medications to take. However, few studies have looked at ways to improve this or support people in this situation who need a little more assistance in this area.

Published in the the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, a new study has identified the traits that are likely to make older people struggle when it comes to regularly taking medication.

Researchers looked at data from a ten-year study from Duke University, which included more than 4,100 people.

Each was asked questions about their medication and their health situation, while the team also tested their mental abilities and examined their medication containers.

When the study started, 7.1 per cent of participants needed help taking their medications, but three years later there was a further 11 per cent who hadn't needed this support previously.

The team found that there were a number of common factors among those who required support when taking medication, such as being over 75 years old, being male, having memory problems or issues performing activities of daily living.

According to the researchers, the findings suggest that more support may be needed for elderly people who need to take regular medication.

"Health conditions may worsen or not improve if older adults skip or don't take their medications properly," said Dr Brenda D. Jamerson, from the Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research at Duke University.

"Serious side effects may also occur from taking medications at the wrong time or in the wrong dose. Some older adults can put themselves at risk for experiencing problems if they don't receive the assistance they may need," she added.

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