Introduction: Healthy aging and quality of life has become a major desire of contemporary society. Understanding the profile of this population will allow the creation of more appropriate policies and actions for the promotion of health and quality of life. Objective: To map aspects related to health and quality of life as perceived by elderly residents of the city of Canindé, in the central sertão region of the state of Ceará. Method: A quantitative, cross-sectional, household-based study was performed. From a population of 5,214 elderly persons, proportional stratified sampling resulted in a sample of 372 individuals. A characterization questionnaire addressing sociodemographic characteristics and health status and the abbreviated version of WHOQOL were used. SPSS version 16.0 was used for descriptive and inferential statistics, adopting a significance level of 5%. Results: Most elderly individuals were female, married, brown skinned, aged 60 to 69 years old, with an incomplete primary education and an income of up to one minimum wage. Most of the elderly persons had attended 1-3 consultations/admissions in the last 12 months, and reported a high prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, anxiety and cardiovascular diseases, despite describing their health and quality of life as "good". In terms of quality of life, the psychological domain had the highest, and the environmental domain had the lowest mean score. Conclusions: The prevalent diseases/comorbidities belonged to the chronic non-communicable diseases group. The environmental domain negatively influenced overall quality of life, indicating the importance of environments that provide health promotion and quality of life for elderly people from rural regions.