The authors review and summarize the current literature regarding the epidemiology, clinical presentation and management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in elderly patients.Among elderly patients, the incidence of ulcerative colitis (UC) is higher than that of Crohn disease (CD). Elderly patients with a new diagnosis of UC are more likely to be male and have left-sided colitis. Elderly patients with a new diagnosis of CD are more likely to be female and have colonic disease. Conversely, increasing age at diagnosis has been associated with a lower likelihood of having any of a family history of IBD, perianal disease in CD and extraintestinal manifestations. Although response to drug therapies appears to be similar in elderly patients and younger individuals, the elderly are more likely to receive 5-aminosalicylic acid agents, and less likely to receive immunomodulators and biologics. Corticosteroid use in the elderly is comparable with use in younger individuals. The rates of surgical intervention appear to be lower for elderly CD patients but not elderly UC patients. Elderly individuals with UC are more likely to need urgent colectomy, which is associated with an increased mortality rate. Elective surgery is associated with similar outcomes among the elderly and young patients with IBD. Therefore, the use of immunomodulators and biologics, and earlier consideration of elective surgery for medically refractory disease in elderly patients with IBD, should be emphasized and further evaluated to prevent complications of chronic corticosteroid(s) use and to prevent emergency surgery.