Making Montana an Age-Friendly State

Picture of SIM-MT
simulation, healthcare, geriatric
Thursday, Mar 21, 2024

With a serene landscape, vibrant communities, and the appeal of the great outdoors, the Treasure State has seen a substantial increase in retirees moving to Montana.  

Although not the largest population in the US, those 65 and older make up 16.8% of the census. And according to the US Census Bureau, that number is to double in the next 30 years. In fact, those 85 and older are the fastest growing age-group in the country currently.  

Recognizing the growth of this population along with the decline in long term caregivers, The University of Montana, coupled with a generous grant from HRSA, and in partnership with SIM-MT has helped take a stance.  

The Dawn of Age-Friendly Healthcare Systems

Dr. Mary Tinetti, Chief of Geriatrics at Yale School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital, describes an Age-Friendly Healthcare as not just treating diseases, but treating patients who may have diseases and a lot of other things going on as well.  

“As people age, they accumulate more conditions and they become more complex, they vary in what matters most to them. They may have some sensory, vision, and hearing difficulties that need to be recognized and adjusted for, or mobility issues and need  help moving around.”, Dr. Tinetti states. 

A nationwide initiative started by The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), Age-Friendly Health Systems is designed to find solutions for this unique population.   

3 Initiatives For an Age-Friendly Healthcare System  

Age-Friendly Healthcare Systems aim to meet 3 objectives: 

  • They follow an essential set of evidence-based practices
  • Align with what matters to the older adult and their family caregivers, as well as
  • Cause no harm 

But how can the system be streamlined to meet these goals? 

Meet the 4 M’s Framework

To render the best care possible and ensure that seniors are satisfied, The 4 M’s is designed to approach their complex care in a simple way.  

The 4 M’s stand for: What Matters, Medication, Mentation, and Mobility.

What Matters

As an older person's cognition and physical abilities decline, it can be easy to brush past what they believe to be important for the sake of what we feel is safe or best. 

What Matters reminds us to understand and respect each older adult’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences, including but not limited to end-of-life care and across all settings of care.  


Watching someone age and all the nuances that come with it can sometimes be heart wrenching.  We sometimes try to resort to care tactics that we feel are best, but not in the seniors' wishes.  

The second M, Medication, reminds us to use age-friendly drugs that do not interfere with What Matters to the older adult, or affect their Mobility or Mentation across all care settings.  


The goal with this M is to prevent, identify, treat, and manage dementia, depression, and delirium across settings of care.  


A simple fall can lead to a life-threatening injury or death for an elderly patient.  

Mobility, the last M, helps ensure that older adults move safely as well as maintain function as they do What Matters to them.  

Measuring the Metrics

With the MTGEC program, a pre- and post survey is given to all of the participants to gauge how they felt before the training in comparison to after and what they have learned.  

These metrics are extremely valuable as this program moves forward to track not only the learners' takeaway, but the direction this program will take in the quest to provide the best care possible for our aging population. 

Are you interested in training like this? Fill out the contact form and we will get back to you with more details.