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​​​​​​Ten thousand adults turn 65 every day, and US Census data show that the population ages 65 and older is expected to nearly double in the next 30 years. As the US population ages and life expectancy increases, the growing number of older adults, particularly those with multiple chronic conditions, poses challenges to the current health care system.

We have extensive knowledge of what it takes to improve care for older adults; numerous effective, evidence-based models for geriatric care exist and are in practice. Unfortunately, these models reach only a portion of those who could benefit
from them.

In 2017, five US health system pioneers partnered with IHI to test, refine,
and scale up an Age- Friendly Health Systems Framework.​ The goal of the initiative is to rapidly spread this framework to 20 percent of US hospitals and medical practices by 2020. 

What Is a​n Age-Friendly Health System?​

An Age-Friendly Health System is one in which every older adult:
  • Gets the best care possible;
  • Experiences no health care-related harms; and
  • Is satisfied with the health care he or she receives.
In an Age-Friendly Health System, value is optimized for all — patients, families, caregivers, health care providers, and the overall system.

The four essential elements of an Age-Friendly Health System​ are known as the 4Ms:
  • What Matters: Know and align care with each older adult's specific health outcome goals and care preferences in​clu​ding, but not limited to end-of-life care, and across settings of care.
  • Medication: If medication is necessary, use Age-Friendly medications that do not interfere with What Matters, Mobility, or Mentation​ on across settings of care.
  • Mentation: Prevent, identify, treat, and manage dementia, depression, and delirium across care settings.
  • Mobility: Ensure that older adults move safely every day in order to maintain function and do What Matters.