This retrospective study was designed to examine the influence of age on the outcome of motor function and activities of daily living (ADLs) in patients with a cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). The study is based on the data registry of the EMSCI study group. Initial upper extremity motor score (UEMS) and its change over 5 months, as well as the initial Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM) score did not differ between younger adults (20-39 years) and elderly (60-79 years) patients. However, the change in SCIM score over 5 months was significantly greater in the younger patient group. Initial UEMS, SCIM and ulnar compound motor action potentials (CMAP), reflecting peripheral nerve damage (motoneurons and roots), were significantly greater in incomplete compared to complete SCI, regardless of age group. Conclusions: The initial assessment of UEMS in combination with CMAP recordings allows an early prediction of ADLs outcomes in both younger adults and elderly subjects. The impaired translation of gain in motor score into increased ADL independence in elderly patients requires specifically tailored rehabilitation programs.