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Your Questions Answered: NIH SeniorHealth

Posted by on July 17th, 2017 Posted in: Blog

Stephanie Dailey from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and Brooke Dine from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) developed the following responses to the questions submitted by the NNLM Network about NIHSeniorHealth’s retirement on August 1:


1. For Senior-related consumer health topics, what resource would NLM recommend?

MedlinePlus: Exercise for SeniorsNutrition for Seniors, and Seniors’ Health NIA: Health and Aging
Information from any information center at NIH related to the specific health condition or disease.


2. Will the information, quizzes, videos, and other “value-added” pieces be included in another resource, like MedlinePlus?

The site will be retired and the information will not be transferred to another site. The videos will still be available via the NIHSeniorHealth YouTube Channel. Any of the NIH-related resources from related Information Centers such as Cancer.gov include the “NIH” logo next to the link. NIH is committed to plain-language and the NIH-related resources reflect that principle.


3. What’s going to happen with the Training Toolkit?

NNLM Coordinators are welcome to use this model to develop their training resources related to seniors.
We recommend you download all of the resources from the toolkit and adapt it to your needs going forward.


4. How was the decreased usage of NIHSeniorHealth measured? Were multiple resources considered?

The decision to retire NIHSeniorHealth wasn’t based on usage. One of the main drivers was the need to consolidate staff resources needed to create and maintain content. Also, we no longer feel the need to create duplicate content focused solely on seniors since many of the best practices and design features for the web are now senior-friendly and implemented across government websites at NIH.


5. NIHSeniorHealth was wonderful because of its simplicity.
MedlinePlus is a great resource but can be a little overwhelming for those who are new or not used to the internet.

We will provide this feedback to the MedlinePlus staff and they can determine how best to improve the senior-related resources. NIA resources have always been and will continue to be focused on older adult and health aging.


6. Will the “Change Contrast” feature still be available?

We will not be transferring that feature to MedlinePlus or the NIA site. Many internet browsers have these capabilities built into the technology which allows users to change contrast, text-size, etc. based on their personal preferences.


Why are seniors’ health information needs not a priority for NLM?

The decision to eliminate the NIHSeniorHealth website is, in my opinion, totally misguided.
Seniors are the largest and fastest growing population in the U.S.
Their costs for health care are a disproportionately large part of the health care economy.
The National Institute for Aging’s website is a far inferior source of consumer health information.
Compare the entries for “glaucoma” on both sites to appreciate the difference.

Health information for older adults continues to be a priority for NLM and NIA and we are committed to continue to provide this information via MedlinePlus and the NIA’s Health and Aging site. The new NIA website will be released at the end of July and will have a more user-friendly interface geared towards all users regardless of age.

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This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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