The feeding difficulty of 196 elderly people with dementia was investigated by means of an 11-item questionnaire administered to nursing staff. The questionnaire was analysed by means of multivariate statistics, namely factor analysis. The factor analysis demonstrated that the original items could be reduced to three factors. These three factors were named: (a) patient obstinacy or passivity; (b) nursing intervention; and (c) indicator of feeding difficulty. This quantitative analysis confirms a previous qualitative distinction between items in the questionnaire and suggests avenues of research into the relationship between the factors.