Because medication prescribing and use have become a normative aspect of health care for older adults, we seek to understand how individuals navigate prescribed-medication use within the context of aging. We reasoned that, for those who are ambulatory, medication use is likely influenced by ethnocultural meanings of health and experiences with alternative approaches to health care. Accordingly, we conducted a qualitative study, with in-depth interviews, on a diverse sample of older adults in order to identify elderly persons’ perceptions and uses of medicines. Our findings depict older adults as active agents – who draw on a lifetime of experience and knowledge – who take responsibility for adherence (or non-adherence) to medicines and their associated effects on their own bodies. We represent the older person as a “pharmaceutical person” whose experiences of aging are inextricably tied up with the negotiation of medicine-reliant health care.