BACKGROUND Depression in the geriatric population is becoming markedly more prevalent. Quality of life has been linked with the development of depression. A screening tool for assessing both geriatric depression and quality of life is needed. OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to assess the utility of the Korean version of the World Health Organization Five Well-Being Index (WHO-5) in evaluating geriatric depression and quality of life as compared to the widely used Short Geriatric Depression Scale of Korean version (SGDS-K). METHODS Two hundred and forty four elderly people (>60-years-of-age) living in the Yanggu and Inje areas of Gangwon Province, Korea, were interviewed and responded to scales including WHO-5, SGDS-K, Mini Mental Status Examination in the Korean version of the CERAD assessment packet (MMSE-KC), and Geriatric Quality of Life-Dementia (GQOL-D). A total WHO-5 score<13 indicated low well-being. RESULTS The SGDS-K score showed a reverse correlation with the WHO-5, MMSE-KC, and GQOL-D scores. The WHO-5 score reversely correlated with the SGDS-K score and positively correlated with GQOL-D, but showed no significant correlation with MMSE-KC score. Subjects ranked as having poor well-being (WHO-5 score<13) had a significantly lower GQOL-D score and a significantly higher SGDS-K score. In multiple regression analysis, WHO-5 was significantly associated with GQOL-D and SGDS-K. CONCLUSION The Korean version of WHO-5 is useful in evaluating both depressive symptoms and quality of life of community-dwelling elderly.