Quality of life research with the elderly has usually focused on the impact of decline in function, and used a pre-determined model of quality of life in old age. The Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (SEIQoL) allows individuals to nominate, weigh and assess those domains of greatest relevance to their quality of life. The SEIQoL was administered to 56 healthy elderly community residents at baseline and 12 months later. Quality of life levels were significantly higher at baseline (t = -2.04; p = 0.04) than that of a previously studied sample of healthy adults below 65 years of age, and did not change significantly over the study period. The domains nominated by both samples as relevant to their quality of life differed notably. Health status was not correlated with the perceived importance of health at baseline, and showed only a low correlation (r = 0.27) at 12 months. The weight placed on health did not increase over the study period despite a significant decline in health status. The value of allowing the individual to define personal quality of life values in a research context is explored.