A preliminary study was designed to assess the health and social aspects of the elderly in a semi-urban community. Fifty-one elderly persons living in the community were randomly selected from the population registers in Kotte health area. The cognitive state, physical disabilities, social interactions, family attitudes towards the elderly, problems associated in caring for them and assistance needed by the families were assessed by using a semi-structured interview. The prevalence of disabilities of the elderly both cognitive and physical, are similar to those in the west, but the relations' perception of the elderly and their problems appear to be different. The importance of social and cultural perspectives in the care of the elderly are briefly discussed.