The purpose of this paper was to analyse demographic characteristics of the elderly population of Istria, their family and health status, satisfaction with life, needs and access to different social welfare services, and to compare them with the characteristics of the elderly population of Zagreb, Dalmatia and Slavonia. The structured interview included 1262 elderly respondents, their average age being 74 (60-100). Istria is characterised by more elderly people with a higher level of education, the least number of married elderly people, who also have less children and living siblings than elderly people in Dalmatia and Slavonia. There are most elderly people who live alone in Istria. By comparing elderly persons from four regions, it has been determined that they most significantly differ in the access to social welfare services and in social support. The determined differences point to the need to organise programs of the care for the elderly on local level, taking into consideration the different characteristics of elderly persons in individual local communities.