PURPOSE: We aimed to describe and compare the cognitive function, anxiety, and quality of life for the demented elderly in day care centers or nursing homes. METHODS: We selected 44 subjects from day care centers and 63 subjects from nursing homes by performing convenience sampling. The Korean version of Mini Mental Status Examination was used for measuring cognitive status; Rating Anxiety in Dementia, for assessing anxiety; Korean Version of Quality of Life-Alzheimer's Disease, for assessing the quality of life. The data were collected from May to June 2008 and analyzed by SPSS WIN 14.0. RESULTS: 1) The cognitive function of the subjects in the day care center was higher than that of the subjects in the nursing home. Anxiety in the subjects in the nursing home was higher than that in the subjects in the day care center. 2) The cognitive function and quality of life of the subjects in the day care center showed statistically significant correlation 3) The anxiety and quality of life of the subjects in the nursing home showed statistically significant correlation. CONCLUSIONS: Nursing interventions that improve the quality of life of the demented elderly should be considered and applied according to the degree of cognitive function and anxiety.