Medication Adherence in the Elderly

Medication Adherence in the Elderly
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Barriers to Adherence in the Elderly

Older adults are prescribed more medications than younger adults, and have a higher rate of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Medication adherence is just as important in this population, and older adults who have high self-efficacy and have a high perception of health status.

Still, barriers remain. Older adults may be less likely to be adherent when they have:

  • Low health literacy.

  • High comorbidities.

  • Polypharmacy.

  • Poor cognition.

  • Logistical trouble obtaining prescriptions or refills.

Despite the importance of medication adherence, it is shockingly low in the U.S., with nearly 3 out 4 patients being non-adherent. Furthermore, adherence is lower among individuals with chronic diseases compared to acute conditions.

Consider these additional statistics, compiled in a survey conducted by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and Pharmacists for the Protection of Patient Care (P3C).

  • 49%, or nearly one out of two, patients forgot to take at least one of their prescription medications.

  • 31%, or nearly one out of three, patients neglected to fill at least one of their prescribed medications.

  • 24%, or nearly one out of four, patients took a dose lower than what they were supposed to take.

  • 11%, or nearly one in nine, patients took an over-the-counter medication instead of their prescription medication.

Lark health coach can assist with adherence to the medication regimen in a number of ways.

  • Reminding patients to take their medications: when and how much.

  • Connecting patients to healthcare providers when needed.

  • Educating patients on the importance of medication adherence.

  • Tracking patient adherence so patients can see how well they have been following doctor’s orders.

In addition, Lark provides coaching to encourage healthy behaviors, including weight management, nutritious eating, getting active, and getting enough sleep. These behaviors can all support general well-being as well as increase patient self-efficacy in taking charge of health and staying adherent to medications to stay as healthy as possible.