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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an age-friendly health system?

An age-friendly health system will measurably improve the quality of care for older adults and optimize value for health systems. It is a health care system in which:

  • Older adults get the best care possible;
  • Healthcare-related harms to older adults are dramatically reduced;
  • Older adults and their families are satisfied with their care; and
  • Value is optimized for all.

Age-friendly health systems will ensure reliable implementation of the “four Ms”: knowing and acting on what Matters to older adults, ensuring Mobility, reviewing, reducing and removing Medications that may cause harm or are unnecessary, and improving the Mentation of older adults by addressing problems like dementia, delirium, depression.

How can my health system get involved? 

  • There are currently five participating health systems that will be working over the next two years to prototype the age-friendly model. A campaign will launch in 2019 to spread effective approaches to additional health systems. 
  • In the meanwhile, stay in touch with us by continuing to visit this page for updates. Send your name, title, organization, and email address to if you would like us to contact you as the initiative expands or if you would like to join a quarterly call to review progress of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative and receive tips on ‘getting ready’.
  • Begin now to assess how age-friendly your health system is by using this organizational assessment tool and start making improvements in your own system today. 

Is there funding available for my health system to be involved?

While no additional funding is currently available for health systems, The John A. Hartford Foundation has provided a grant to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to create resources, tools, and technical assistance that will be made freely available for use by all interested health systems.  Please contact for more information. 

What are the specific areas being addressed within health systems to make them age-friendly?

There are four areas representing common elements of the most effective evidence-based models of care for older adults. These are proxies for best practices and outcomes that represent age-friendly care. They are the “four Ms”:

  • What Matters: Identify and document each patient’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences; deliver care in accord with these goals and preferences.
  • Mentation: Assess for risks; prevent and treat symptoms for dementia, delirium, and depression; maintain a supportive environment.
  • Mobility: Assess function; prevent and treat functional decline and complications of immobility including falls, deconditioning, and pressure ulcers; ensure enabling environment.
  • Medication: Assess risks; improve management including the use of standard order sets, medication reconciliation, age-friendly prescribing standards, de-prescribing, and dose adjustment. 

What settings are the focus of the initiative?

The goal of the initiative is to have universal assessment and management of the “four Ms” across hospital, post-acute, and home and ambulatory settings.


If you are interested in receiving updates on the initiative or have further questions, please contact