This study examined the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of nursing home residents (≥ 65 years) using the Short-Form-36 Health Survey subscales and how these subscale scores are related to residents' sociodemographic and medical conditions. Residents 95–102 years old reported higher HRQOL than younger respondents. Those with more education reported higher HRQOL. Residents who reported hobbies or special interests had a higher HRQOL score on vitality and mental health variables. Finally, respondents with no comorbid illness scored highest on all HRQOL dimensions, and this was statistically significant for physical functioning and bodily pain. In conclusion, respondents generally reported highly limited physical functioning and slightly limited social functioning. To improve the situation of residents, more attention should be paid to the environment of nursing homes and residents' hobbies and special interests.