In the last 25 years, the number of patients aged ≥75 years undergoing non-cardiac surgery has greatly increased. In elderly patients, frailty is significantly associated with an increased risk of adverse events, functional decline, procedural complications, prolonged hospitalization, and mortality. The relationship between frailty and increased mortality and morbidity requires an appropriate tool of assessment to accurately quantify the patient’s clinical and perioperative conditions. The preoperative evaluation of elderly patients candidate for non-cardiac surgery should include assessment of frailty, sarcopenia and malnutrition, as these are related to high surgical risk. For colon-rectal surgery as also for gastric cancer surgery, especially early gastric cancer, the introduction of laparoscopy has yielded considerable benefits in terms of short-term postsurgical outcomes, e.g. lower rate of intraprocedural bleeding and reduced length of hospital stay. Despite the progress made in preoperative assessment, surgical procedures and postoperative management, the improvement of outcomes after non-cardiac surgery in elderly patients remains a challenge and calls for future, well-designed clinical studies.