The introduction of drugs that are claimed to improve cognitive function and activities of daily living in patients with Alzheimer's disease raises the question of whether these drugs also influence dementia patients' quality of life (QOL). We describe a hierarchic model of QOL of dementia patients, which can guide the development of measurement instruments. After initially discussing broadly QOL research, we focus on two highly important characteristics of the concept, its broadness and subjectivity, against the background of the relevant literature on QOL in dementia. Dementia-specific dimensions and domains are presented. We identify psychological well-being as the core dimension for QOL of patients with dementia. Copyright © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel.