International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 30–35 | Cite as

Comparative studies of how living circumstances influence medication adherence in ≥65 year olds

  • Sheila A. DoggrellEmail author
  • Therése Kairuz
Review Article


Background Resources to help the older aged (≥65 year olds) manage their medicines should probably target those in greatest need. The older-aged have many different types of living circumstances. There are different locations (urban, rural), different types of housing (in the community or in retirement villages), different living arrangements (living alone or with others), and different socioeconomic status (SES) circumstances. However, there has been limited attention to whether these living circumstances affect adherence to medicines in the ≥65 year olds. Aim of the review The aim was to determine whether comparative studies, including logistic regression studies, show that living circumstances affect adherence to medicines by the ≥65 year olds. Methods A literature search of Medline, CINAHL and the Internet (Google) was undertaken. Results Four comparative studies have not shown differences in adherence to medicines between the ≥65 year olds living in rural and urban locations, but one study shows lower adherence to medicines for osteoporosis in rural areas compared to metropolitan, and another study shows greater adherence to antihypertensive medicines in rural than urban areas. There are no comparative studies of adherence to medicines in the older-aged living in indigenous communities compared to other communities. There is conflicting evidence as to whether living alone, being unmarried, or having a low income/worth is associated with nonadherence. Preliminary studies have suggested that the older-aged living in rental, low SES retirement villages or leasehold, middle SES retirement villages have a lower adherence to medicines than those living in freehold, high SES retirement villages. Conclusions The ≥65 year olds living in rural communities may need extra help with adherence to medicines for osteoporosis. The ≥65 year olds living in rental or leasehold retirement villages may require extra assistance/resources to adhere to their medicines. Further research is needed to clarify whether living under certain living circumstances (e.g. living alone, being unmarried, low income) has an effect on adherence, and to determine whether the ≥65 year olds living in indigenous communities need assistance to be adherent to prescribed medicines.


Adherence Comparative studies Elderly Living circumstances Marital status Medication Retirement village Rural setting Socioeconomic status Urban setting 






Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health, Gardens Point, School of Biomedical SciencesQueensland University of Technology (QUT)BrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Health Sciences, School of PharmacyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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