Medication Use in Male and Female Older Adults

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Chia Yu Lin, MSN, RN1
Lee-jen W. Suen, PhD, RN2
Yun Ying Hung, PhD, RN1
(1)Department of Nursing, Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology, Tainan, Taiwan
(2)Department of Nursing, Chung Jung University, Tainan, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the perspectives of the older adults in medication use, including safety.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand gender differences in medication usage of the older adults.


    This qualitative study examines gender differences in medication usage and experiences with an emphasis on the perspectives of the older adults in order to understand the conditions of medication use, including safety.


    From July 2011 to January 2012, the research recruited 5 male and 8 female older adults above the age of 65 to participate in this study. The first were recruited from the community and snowballing was used to find additional subjects. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect the data, and content analysis was performed.


   The transcripts suggested six themes: “control of the body”, “medication usage”, “medication planning”, “interaction with healthcare providers”, “suggestions from laypersons”, and “perceived social support”. While these themes were common between male and female older adults, there were differences in the content of “interaction with healthcare providers” and “perceived social support”. Male older adults tended to trust healthcare providers, while female older adults felt that their opinions were neglected by the healthcare providers. Male older adults often had family members reminding them to take their medications and even serving the medications. Female older adults more frequently mentioned financial support for medication expenses from friends and family.


   This study recognizes the importance for older adults to control their own body, which must be taken into account when providing care. The reasons older adults take advice from laypersons, including the media, are explored. These results help healthcare providers understand differences in the conditions surrounding medication use between male and female older adults. This study can help refine guidelines for teaching medication safety to older adults.