Abstract The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between feelings of burden and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among family caregivers looking after the impaired elderly residing in a community located in southern Japan. Subjects were 85 pairs comprising elderly individuals requiring care and their respective family caregivers. Questionnaire items for the family caregivers related to demographic variables, caregivers’ burden, HRQOL, use of public services, hours spent caregiving, duration of caregiving, and satisfaction with verbal communication with family. Questionnaire items for the elderly recipients of care concerned demographic variables, activities of daily living, and cognitive status. According to bivariate analysis, caregivers’ burden was significantly related to cognitive status, hours spent caregiving, and each HRQOL subscore except physical function. From multiple regression analysis, subscore of HRQOL with respect to mental health and satisfaction with verbal communication were extracted as influential factors. Final regression coefficient was 0.72 (P < 0.01) and coefficient of determination was 0.53. These results suggest that satisfactory mental health status plays an important role in limiting family caregivers’ burden.