Many people with dementia reside in care facilities. Little is known about how key parameters impact upon their quality of life (QOL). All 209 people with dementia in six facilities received a standardized assessment (Neuropsychiatric Inventory [NPI], Barthel Scale, psychotropic drugs). One hundred twelve residents were assessed using Dementia Care Mapping, an observational method for QOL indices. Lower performance on activities of daily living (reduced well-being [WB] r = +0.39, p < .0001; social withdrawal [SW] r = +0.42, p < .0001; engagement in activities [EA] r = +0.31, p = .001) and taking psychotropics (WB 2.5 vs. 3.2, t = .2.3, p = .02; SW 11.4% vs. 2.7%, t = 3.0, p = .004; EA 56.5% vs. 71.9%; t = 3.5, p = .001) were associated with reduced QOL, but symptoms from the NPI were not. More focused prescribing of psychotropics and better staff training are essential.