Chronic pain is a common problem for the aged. Aim of the study was to evaluate prevalence, characteristics and influence on functional parameters of chronic pain in the elderly. Our study included 105 patients (mean age 82.2 +/- 9 yr). Chronic pain, tested by using the McGill Pain Questionnaire, was present in 87 patients (82.9%); it lasted more than 2 years and it was continuous in half of them (49.4%). Our study shows that chronic pain in the elderly has a strong affective component. Its intensity, evaluated by specific tests such as analogical visual and verbal scales, influences old patient's quality of life.