The association between aging and cancer is well exemplified by bladder cancer: with advancing age, the risk of developing bladder cancer increases, and patients' clinical presentation and outcomes worsen. Care for elderly patients with bladder cancer requires specific knowledge of many key geriatric clinical issues in order to determine optimal treatment plans. While numerous studies have tried to address the role of urologic intervention for elderly patients with bladder cancer, many studies fail to incorporate a component of true functional assessment. Evaluation tools that incorporate comorbidities, disabilities and functional status will need to be developed, as chronological age is a poor predictor of treatment outcomes. Additionally, further research is necessary to better understand the basic mechanisms that predispose elderly patients to develop this costly and life-threatening disease. This Review examines the current literature evaluating the clinical and mechanistic interactions between aging and bladder cancer, and suggests the formulation of a research agenda to address the issues raised.