Purpose : Regarding the epidemiology of pain in older adults, data are lacking about the association between pain severity and its impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). This study was aimed to investigate pain prevalence and sites, self-reported interferences with daily life activities, and the effect of pain severity on HRQoL in a Swiss community-dwelling population aged ≥ 65 years. Methods : This is a cross-sectional survey conducted with a national sample of individuals randomly selected from population records, stratified by age and gender. Respondents answered a face–face interview addressing pain location, intensity and interferences, and quality-of-life variables. Logit regression models were applied for binary outcomes, linear regression for continuous outcomes, and Poisson regression for count outcomes. For each analysis, Wald Chi square and 95% confidence intervals were used. Results : Among the 2995 individuals considered, 36.4% reported pain. The results indicate that pain prevalence and intensity increased from age 80 onwards. Pain intensity was strongly associated with functional health, i.e., all scales involving physical activities were affected in individuals reporting severe pain; it was also associated with the individuals’ perception of their overall HRQoL. Conclusion : Our results point to the importance of devoting attention to pain intensity rather than to the number of pain sites. Because of the demographic transition, the management of pain problems should emphasize early referral and timely treatment to prevent the burden of disease and functional loss associated with pain intensity.