Telomere length (TL) attrition is associated with chronic diseases characterized by chronic inflammatory states. Inflammatory cytokines may play a role in sarcopenia. This study examines the association between TL and the diagnosis of sarcopenia based on appendicular skeletal mass index (ASMI), grip strength, walking speed, and chair stand in a prospective study over 5 years of 976 men and 1,030 women aged 65 years and over living in the community. TL in leukocytes was measured using the quantitative PCR method. TL was divided into quartiles, and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was adopted to examine its association with components of sarcopenia, adjusting for age, education, body mass index, smoking, physical activity, and probable dementia. In both men and women, the percentage decline in grip strength over the 5-year period of follow-up was slower in those in the highest quartile of TL than those in the lower quartiles (multivariate-adjusted p < 0.05). No association between TL and the diagnosis of sarcopenia, ASMI, walking speed, or chair stand was observed. In conclusion, longer TL was associated with slower decline in grip strength in Chinese older persons.