Age Friendly Health System

At Mercy Hospital of Buffalo we believe that older adults deserve high-value, evidence-based health care that treats them with respect and meets their goals and preferences. That is why Mercy Hospital joined the Age- Friendly Health Systems movement, a nationwide initiative to improve care for older adults. We’re proud to be working with The John A. Hartford Foundation, the American Hospital Association and Catholic Health Association of the United States on this initiative that puts four important interventions into practice that can lead to enhanced care for older adults—they are known as the 4M’s: What Matters, Medication, Mind, and Mobility.

What Matters

Communication is imperative to ensuring that your care team understands your health goals.

  • Taking time to prepare a list of important questions you’d like answered during your visits is a good first step.
  • Be sure you understand and agree with everything in your personal care plan. If something is not clear, ask for clarification.
  • Be ready for any situation. Make sure your providers have been given copies of your Healthcare Power of Attorney form.


It is not uncommon for older adults to be prescribed a variety of medications, and this could result in additional side effects. A medication that you have taken earlier in life may affect you differently now that you are older.

  • Make a list of all your medications and bring it to every appointment. Review your list with your doctor to make sure you actually need everything you are currently prescribed.
  • Understand the medications you are taking. Know how and when to take them. Staying organized by using a pill box is an excellent method to keep track of when pills should be taken.
  • If you are taking over-the-counter medications in addition to prescription medications, be sure to let your provider know. This includes any natural remedies you may take as well.


Just as our physical bodies change with age, so too do our minds. You may notice that your mood or memory is changing as you age. This is a normal part of aging but there are things you can do that are good for your mind.

  • Annual screenings for both dementia and depression are essential. If you experience sudden confusion, this may be a sign of a medical emergency and you should seek immediate help.
  • Simply spending time with others can help keep your mind healthy. Try new activities or volunteer with a neighborhood organization.
  • If you notice you changes that are having a negative impact on your mood or memory tell your provider. These can include no longer enjoying participating in things you used to enjoy, having difficultly doing things that used to be easy, or changes in your appetite or sleep.


Staying active can be a factor in maintaining overall health and independence, but staying safe while moving is just as important. There are things you can do to increase your ability to stay both mobile and safe.

  • Talk to your healthcare providers about what is and is not working while moving around your home. Use assistive devices that are prescribed to help you with your mobility.
  • Discuss which exercises will make your stronger, more flexible and help you with balance. If you are having balance problems, it is very important to let your provider know.
  • Look around your home. Are there items that may be hazardous such as throw rugs that you may trip on or stairs without handrails? If so, these are problems that are easily fixed.

About Age- Friendly Health Systems

The Age-Friendly Health Systems (AFHS) initiative was launched in 2017 by The John A. Hartford Foundation and IHI, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and Catholic Health Association of the United States to help hospitals and other healthcare settings implement a set of evidence-based practices specifically designed to improve care for older adults. As part of this nationwide movement, Mercy Hospital collaborates with more than 100 health systems across the country by sharing data and best practices to achieve age-friendly, tailored care for their older patient population. For more information, visit