Advances in modern medicine have led to an increase in the median life span and an expansion of the world's population over the age of 65. With increasing numbers of the population surviving to the extreme of age, those at risk for the development of pneumonia will approach 2 billion by the year 2050. Numerous age-related changes in the lung likely contribute to the enhanced occurrence of pneumonia in the elderly. Inflammation in the elderly has been shown to increase risk prior to infection; age-associated inflammation enhances bacterial ligand expression in the lungs which increases the ability of bacteria to attach and invade host cells. Conversely, the elaboration of the acute inflammatory response during early infection has been found to decrease with age resulting in a delayed immune response and diminished bacterial killing. Finally, the resolution of the inflammatory response during the convalescent stage back to "baseline" is often prolonged in the elderly and associated with negative outcomes, such as adverse cardiac events. The focus of this review will be to discuss our current understanding of the potential mechanisms by which dysregulated inflammation (both prior to and following an infectious insult) enhances susceptibility to and severity of community acquired pneumonia (CAP) in the elderly with an emphasis on pneumococcal pneumonia, the leading cause of CAP.