Few epidemiologic studies on acute kidney injury (AKI) have focused on the older adult population. This study investigated the clinical features, risk factors, and clinical burden in this population. A retrospective observational study was performed with the clinical data of inpatients at Guangdong Geriatrics Institute from 1 August 2012, to 31 December 2016. AKI was classified into community-acquired AKI (CA-AKI) and hospital-acquired AKI (HA-AKI), and the risk factors for AKI were ranked by weight. The relationships between AKI and adverse outcomes during hospitalization were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression. In total, 6126 patients were enrolled, and 1704 patients developed AKI (27.8%): 6.3% had CA-AKI, and 21.5% had HA-AKI. In total, 1425 (23.3%), 202 (3.3%), and 77 (1.3%) patients had stage 1, 2 and 3 AKI, respectively. Age, dementia, moderate/severe renal disease, moderate/severe liver disease, metastatic solid tumor, female sex, congestive heart failure, chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus with chronic complications, non-metastatic tumor and lymphoma were independent risk factors for HA-AKI. The first five were also independent risk factors for CA-AKI. After multiple adjustment, AKI was associated with intensive care admission (CA-AKI: OR 5.688, 95% CI 3.122-10.361; HA-AKI: OR 4.704, 95% CI 3.023-7.298) and in-hospital mortality (CA-AKI: OR 5.073, 95% CI 2.447-10.517; HA-AKI: OR 13.198, 95% CI 8.133-21.419). AKI occurs in >25% of older adults in the geriatric ward. In addition to traditional risk factors, dementia and tumors were risk factors for AKI in older adults. AKI is closely related to a poor prognosis.