Trying to remember to take one's daily medications may be difficult for some seniors who do not have the assistance of home care providers, but scientists say that a silly gesture could help the elderly keep track of their prescription administration.
At Washington University in St Louis, doctors worked
with patients to try and increase compliance after finding that repetitive tasks were difficult for the elderly to remember and account for during the course of a day.
In a study of different ways to alleviate the issue, they found that patients who did something unusual, such as pat their head, while doing a scheduled activity were more likely to remember it later on than a control group.
"Our results indicate that older adults can use these sorts of [actions] to effectively reduce repetition errors in habitual prospective memory tasks, such as taking a daily medication," said lead author Dr Mark McDaniel.
The researchers noted that doing so reduced the numbers of errors committed by seniors to levels seen in young adults.