Low levels of alcohol may be hazardous in the elderly, but available education focuses on younger, abusive, and dependent drinkers. A total of 209 older persons participated in various components of the development and evaluation of 'A Toast To Health In Later Life!' health promotion materials for the elderly. Patient focus groups, physicians, educators, and alcohol-use researchers contributed to all materials and measures. An education model for older adults guided the instructional format. Knowledge and self-efficacy scores increased significantly from pre- to post-test. Over 45% of persons in selected senior centers reviewed the materials without prompting by the study team. Older adults are willing to read extensively about the relationships among drinking, health, and medication use. Patient educators should include consumers in the design of health promotion materials and measures. Practitioners who rely on written educational materials for patient education and counseling should be provided with evidence of appropriateness, effectiveness, and feasibility.