In 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) introduced the concept of intrinsic capacity (IC) as part of a new public health model for healthy ageing. IC refers to the overall combination of an individual’s physical and mental capacities, and is promoted as a new positive approach to the health and wellbeing of older adults. However, there is still insufficient evidence that implementing IC leads to better care for older adults. Moreover, the current operationalisations of IC lead to confusion and redundant research. In this commentary, we discuss whether the concept of IC has added value for geriatrics, and describe the main issues related to its conceptualisation, measurement, and application. We argue that there is a need to clarify and validate the concept of IC, including independent evidence regarding its feasibility and acceptance in clinical practice.