Assessing influences on the medication management strategies of older adults with hypertension

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Blocker, Kenneth
Rogers, Wendy A.
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Many older adults are living with at least one chronic disease and must adhere to prescribed medications to control the impact of these diseases. Most common is hypertension, a mostly asymptomatic disease in which one’s blood pressure is elevated in comparison to healthy levels. Thus, there may not be symptoms to remind one to take their daily medication and, as older adults may experience declines in some forms of memory as they age, these individuals may face challenges in properly adhering to their prescribed antihypertensive medications. Multiple factors (e.g., illness representations, goals, control beliefs) influence the strategies older adults employ to ensure the successful management of their medication, helping to control their blood pressure. However, more research is needed to better understand the factors that influence the utilization and effectiveness of these strategies. The goal of the current study was to understand how older adults approached the management of their antihypertensive medication as well as the factors that influence this management. A semi-structured interview was performed to obtain in-depth information regarding the medication management strategies and opinions of individuals aged 65-85 who have been diagnosed with hypertension. Participants, on average, expressed using, on average, approximately 4 strategies in their medication management routines. The association strategy was found to be the most commonly endorsed as well as perceived as the most effective. In addition to strategy use, misconceptions regarding individuals’ knowledge of the disease, as well as incongruities between self-reported adherence and participants’ perceived medication management ability, were evident in the interview data. These findings inform our theoretical understanding of how older adults approach managing their antihypertensive medication as well as what might be contributing to the difficulties that individuals diagnosed with the disease have experienced regarding its management. Additionally, these findings inform the design of more effective tools geared toward improving and maintaining antihypertensive medication adherence (e.g., interventions, hardware/software applications).
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