Trends in the health status of the entire senior population aged 65 years or older in Manitoba were examined over a 14-year period (1985-1999) using administrative data (about 50,000 individuals). Significant health gains were apparent for a number of important indicators, including acute myocardial infarction, stroke, cancer, and hip fractures, although some of these gains were restricted to urban areas. Improvements in these health indicators are significant, as they can have major implications for individuals' need for health services and ability to live independently. In contrast, chronic diseases were on the rise, with the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and dementia increasing substantially over the 14-year period. These trends suggest a need for a policy emphasis on prevention, such as reducing the prevalence of obesity, which is one risk factor for diabetes. Moreover, having sufficient care options in place for the growing number of individuals with dementia is an issue that will have to be addressed.