Practical Tools and Methods to Improve Adherence to Medication for the Elderly


Non-adherence to medication occurs when a patient fails to take the prescribed medication as instructed. Failing to adhere to the doctor’s instruction, the patient may experience additional health problems or worsening of their current health condition. We hereby introduce some tools to aid older people and their caregivers improve adherence to medication.


Some important points to note:

If you miss the appointment date, do return to the pharmacist and ask for help in getting the medications. Do not wait until the next doctor’s appointment.

Some medications need to be kept in the refrigerator.
All medications must be kept away from children.



It is not uncommon to forget your medications, especially when you have more than 3 medications.
These are some of the tools that can help you remember:

Daily pill box

Pill boxes that have sections according to 7 days in a week are useful. These boxes are practical for patient who moves around frequently. However, you will be required to remember the timing of the medications.




Special Pill Box

Special pill boxes have sections to put pills for different days and times of the day. This type of pill box is practical for people who have more than 5 types of medications and have difficulty in remembering the timing of the medications. It can be used to monitor whether medications had been taken correctly by checking the sections of the pill box rather than looking through individual bottles.



Medication Chart

Ask the doctor or pharmacist to make a medication plan to fit your schedule, with dosages and physical appearances of the medications.



Caregiver’s notebook

A caregiver’s notebook is a great tool to help you keep track of multiple medications and follow-up appointments. Bring along a comprehensive list of medications and their dosages with you at all the doctor’s visits and during any medical emergencies.

MS JACQUELINE WONG is a pharmacist based in Hospital Kuala Lumpur. Older people hold a special place in her heart.