The purpose of this study was to compare and analyse attitudes towards death and perceptions of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders between the elderly living in a facility and those living at home, in order to provide basic data for effective nursing interventions to help the elderly prepare for death in a positive manner. The subjects of this study were 300 persons over 65 years old who lived in a facility or home in Seoul or Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, and data were collected from 1 April to 15 August 2012. Descriptive analysis, χ2-test, and ANCOVA were conducted on the data using the SPSS version 20.0 program. With regard to attitudes towards death, the elderly in a facility reported that physical pain relief was most necessary for a comfortable death, and the elderly living at home reported that psychological stability was most required. With regard to perceptions of DNR orders, most of the participants agreed that DNR is sometimes necessary (institution: 86.7%, home: 78.7%). About 8% more of the elderly living in a facility considered DNR to sometimes be necessary compared with the elderly living at home. In conclusion, the elderly living in a facility were interested in physical pain relief or physical health, and the elderly living at home were focused on psychological stability or psychological health. Based on the findings, basic data for development of effective nursing interventions to help the elderly prepare for death in a positive manner can be provided.