Changes in cognitive processes are well documented among even essentially healthy community-dwelling older adults. Although these changes do not produce the level of cognitive impairment associated with dementia, they do have the capacity to influence the degree to which elderly individuals self-manage chronic conditions. This pilot investigation tested the effect of an intervention to improve remembering to take medications and tracking if medications were taken as intended. Twenty-seven older adults (age range = 67-89 years, M = 78 years) all self-managing prescribed medications had one medication electronically monitored for 8 weeks preintervention and then 8 weeks postintervention. The percentage of days the correct number of doses was taken increased from a mean of 64.5% to that of 78%. With the use of Wilcoxon's signed ranks test, this improvement in adherence is significant. When participants with dementia or mild cognitive impairment were eliminated from the analysis (n = 6), the intervention continued to improve adherence (70.6% to 86%), suggesting that many older adults have the potential to improve adherence through individualized implementation of memory strategies.
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