Knowledge of carriage and population dynamics of Staphylococcus aureus is crucial for infection risk assessment and to reveal transmission patterns of strains. We report the prevalence and molecular epidemiology of S. aureus in elderly people (n = 290) living in nursing homes in three cities in the south of Sweden. The overall carriage prevalence rate was 48% when results from nares (31%) and throat (34%) samples were combined. Common spa types were equally distributed but a frequent type, t160, was found only in one of the regions. Carriage of different spa types was detected in 23% of individuals and antimicrobial resistance rates were higher in S. aureus isolates from those carrying more than one spa type. Five of the 21 individuals who carried different spa types were colonized simultaneously with resistant and non-resistant strains. Seventeen per cent of the individuals carried S. aureus of the same spa type on all occasions. Methicillin resistance was not detected. In conclusion we found a high prevalence of S. aureus in this elderly population with a high rate of dual colonization with different spa types. We also found signs of institutional spread of one strain.