A study of the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among 139 non-institutionalized Coloured persons aged 65 years and over was undertaken. Standard instruments, namely the Present State Examination and the Mini-Mental State Examination, were used with modifications. Dementia was judged to be present in 8,6% and severe in 3,6% of the subjects. Other psychiatric disorders (apart from alcoholism) were present in 24%, depression being the most common (16,5%). The prevalence of paranoid illness (2,2%) may be partly explained by the high rate of alcoholism among the men (15%). Most of the 16% who had previously received psychiatric inpatient treatment were judged to be disordered at present, and a relatively small proportion of the respondents (6%) were currently on psychotropic medication with only 1 subject receiving antidepressants. Findings are discussed in terms of cross-cultural psychiatric assessment and other studies. Further research into the availability and utilization of services, and most importantly into changing circumstances, is necessary. Alcoholism, depression and dementia are areas requiring particular attention.