Medications can help older adults longer and more active lives. But they must be taken safely.
If you are 65 or older, know or care for someone who is, or help provide services to people of retirement age or older, MUST for Seniors offers important and simple resources to help promote appropriate and safe medication use as we age.
The program includes an array of multi-media educational tools, including a PowerPoint presentation, videos, articles and handouts to help educate older adults and their caregivers about medication safety in older age. For a full listing, click Program Materials & Tools.
||Community and Senior
Professionals and Health Educators
|View the online presentation on medication safety, including video stories and helpful handouts (see the Program Materials & Tools tab)
||Print out articles, "10 Steps for Success" and "Make Notes, Take Notes to Avoid Medication Errors" for the older generations in your family, neighbors and friends
Plan to offer the MUST for Seniors workshop
- Refer to the speaker's notes for additional background
- Use the template press release and media alert to promote it
|Check yourself — test your awareness of medication safety using the MUST for Seniors worksheet/quiz
||Swap your next book club or other get together for a MUST for Seniors discussion
||Provide medication safety and other self-help information by publishing or posting pre-ready articles or display ads in member newsletters, publications or online
|Read articles on how to keep track of your medications, ways to lower costs, and much more
||Consider giving the MUST for Seniors workshop at your local library, senior center or other community event - you have everything you need!
||Integrate the workshop, video stories and handouts as part of existing or new adult education programs to spark discussion
|Download "10 Steps for Success: Managing Your Medicines" and keep in your refrigerator or where you keep your medicines
||Print out and drop off materials at your family doctor's practice, the library or community centers — ask if any would be willing to reprint articles or place ads to promote the program
||Print out and distribute handouts, or other MUST materials
|Get to know your medications and "MUST Ask Questions" before each medical visit
||Read "Helping Your Independent Older Parents Use Medications Safely" and other useful articles
||Include a link to mustforseniors.org on your website or in related materials
|Talk about MUST — pass the information along to your peers so they can get the most from their medications and avoid problems
||Facebook, Twitter and talk about it
||Facebook, Twitter and talk about it
||Join the National Council on Patient Information and Education today.
Who can use MUST for Seniors
- Older adults and their caregivers
- Community leaders and outreach coordinators at local hospitals
- Health care professionals and health educators
- Public library adult education program managers
- Organizations that serve older adults (senior centers, independent living communities, etc.)
- State-based task forces on aging and wellness
- Faith-based adult education or discussion groups
Help Spread the Word!
As with anything, if people don't know about these useful resources, they won't be used. Think about creative ways to promote a MUST for Seniors
program in your community. NCPIE has also developed some materials Help Promote MUST in Your Community
that can help.
The appropriate and safe use of medications by older adults is a growing concern. Most — eight out of 10 — take at least one medication (only one of every four people under age 18 and about one of every three age 18 to 44 do); and many seniors use three or more medications. This increases the risk for drug interactions, mix-ups and the potential for harmful side effects.
In addition, older adults:
- Typically have one or more health problems
- Are more likely to experience adverse side effects or overdose due to age-related changes in the body
- May have memory lapses or poor eyesight that can make it harder to understand or read instructions
- Worry about the cost of medications and may not fill a prescription, skip or cut doses — all of which are dangerous
- As the baby boomer generation population ages and grows