The objectives of this study were (i) to evaluate the validity of the WHO Well-Being Scale in elderly subjects and (ii) to assess the influence of demographic variables on subjective quality of life. A sample of 254 elderly subjects completed the 22-item WHO Well-Being Scale. The scale had an adequate internal and external validity. However, the short 10-item and 5-item versions were equally valid. Low scores indicating decreased well-being were related to the presence of a psychiatric disorder or, independently, to poor living conditions. The Well-Being Scale and their short versions would appear to be useful instruments for identifying subjects with reduced subjective quality of life.