BACKGROUND The proportion of elderly people living in Poland has risen in recent years. With rising life expectancy, there is likely to be a concurrent increase in the incidence of chronic diseases and disabilities. Therefore, this study aimed to analyze the prevalence of chronic diseases and disability of the elderly in order to help guide strategies of prevention and public health control. MATERIAL AND METHODS This was a cross-sectional study of 1,000 randomly-selected residents living in the Podkarpackie region of Poland. The WHODAS 2.0 questionnaire was used to assess the disability and functioning of the participants across six domains of functioning using the following scores: no disability (0-4%), mild disability (5-24%), moderate disability (25-49%), severe disability (50-95%), and extreme disability (96-100%). RESULTS The presence of at least one chronic disease was identified in 84.1% of participants. The most common diseases were: circulatory diseases (59.10%), spinal pain syndromes (51.50%), degenerative joint diseases (50.30%), and rheumatic diseases (23.90%). Severe or extreme disability was found in 8.46% of patients with circulatory disease, 9.32% of patients with spinal pain syndromes, 9.34% of patients with degenerative joint diseases, and 12.13% of patients with rheumatic diseases. CONCLUSIONS Based on our findings, we recommend an emphasis be placed on early diagnosis of chronic diseases. We also recommend implementing methods of primary and secondary prevention aimed at reducing or eliminating disability resulting from chronic diseases. Our research highlights the need to plan targeted support and prevention programs using strategies that optimize social participation of older people with various chronic diseases.