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Understanding Medication Management among Older Adults and their Caregivers


September 1, 2020 - August 31, 2025

Funding Source:

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Grant Number:



Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) are progressive diseases characterized by their debilitating impact on cognitive function. Adults ages 65 years and older represent the majority of cases, and are managing not only ADRD, but multiple chronic conditions (MCC) that are common with advancing age. Adherence to prescribed medication regimens is critical to optimize both cognitive and physical health, but is especially difficult in the context of multidrug regimens. Little is known about how older adults with ADRD self-manage their medications, how these responsibilities transition to caregivers as the disease progresses, how capable caregivers are to fulfill these responsibilities, and how ambulatory care practices support patients and caregivers to ensure safe medication use and adherence.


In partnership with the Northwestern Alzheimer’s Disease Center, this study will examine the evolving strategies employed by older adults with ADRD and their caregivers to self-manage multidrug regimens as the disease progresses over time. We will conduct qualitative interviews with 30 patient-caregiver dyads with MCI, mild or moderate stage ADRD to 1) reveal the roles and responsibilities for medication self-management and how these transition from patient to caregiver as the disease worsens; 2) determine facilitators and barriers to effective medication management. identifier: