Attention operates through top-down (TD) and bottom-up (BU) mechanisms. Recently, it has been shown that slow (alpha) frequencies index facilitatory and suppressive mechanisms of TD attention and faster (gamma) frequencies signal BU attentional capture. Ageing is characterized by increased behavioral distractibility, resulting from either a reduced efficiency of TD attention or an enhanced triggering of BU attention. However, only few studies have investigated the impact of ageing upon the oscillatory activities involved in TD and BU attention. MEG data were collected from 14 elderly and 14 matched young healthy human participants while performing the Competitive Attention Task. Elderly participants displayed (1) exacerbated behavioral distractibility, (2) altered TD suppressive mechanisms, indexed by a reduced alpha synchronization in task-irrelevant regions, (3) less prominent alpha peak-frequency differences between cortical regions, (4) a similar BU system activation indexed by gamma activity, and (5) a reduced activation of lateral prefrontal inhibitory control regions. These results show that the ageing-related increased distractibility is of TD origin.