A new study has suggested certain effective ways to remind elders if they've taken their daily dose of medicine - knocking on wood or patting yourself on the head, while popping those pills.
"In extended medication-taking situations, the habitual nature of the task may make it difficult for older adults to remember whether or not they took the medication on a particular day, especially if pill boxes are not used," explains Mark McDaniel, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a professor of psychology in Arts and Sciences at Washington University.
"To remedy this potential problem, older adults could be instructed to take their medication while placing one hand on their head or in some other unusual or silly way, like crossing their arms," he suggests.
"Our results indicate that older adults can use these sorts of more complex motor tasks to effectively reduce repetition errors in habitual prospective memory tasks, such as taking a daily medication," he added.
The study has been published in a recent issue of the journal Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition.