Senior woman holding pills selection in her hands, close-up.

A new partnership will educate older adults nationally on the dangers of overmedication and how to avoid them with help from their healthcare providers. 

The National Council on Aging is teaming up with the University of Buffalo to spread the message of Team Alice, an advocacy program to prevent overmedication and medication-related harm at UB’s Center for Successful Aging.

“NCOA is delighted to partner with Team Alice from the University at Buffalo to shed light on the all-too-common problems of medication errors, and inappropriate prescribing for older adults,” Kathleen Cameron, NCOA senior director, Center for Healthy Aging, said in a statement. “We are pleased to assist in efforts to educate older adults and their caregivers about how to reduce these problems.” 

Team Alice was inspired by 88-year-old Alice Brennan who died in 2009 after being misprescribed medication.  The goal of Team Alice is to empower seniors and their caregivers to actively participate with healthcare providers when making decisions about medication. 

Overprescribing or inappropriate prescribing medication to seniors can occur in both long-term care facilities and in the community, according to the National Institute of Health.  A 2020 study found that every day 750 older adults are hospitalized due to serious side effects from one or more medications and the odds of a serious adverse reaction increase 7 to 10% with each additional drug. Approximately 40% of Americans 65 and older take five or more prescriptions on a regular basis.