The study of aging and older persons is inevitably tied to a study of families. Aging has an effect both on the role of families in the lives of the elderly and on the role of the elderly in the lives of their families. Families can be a source of emotional support, nursing care, financial assistance, and household assistance for their older members. Older family members may serve as a family’s cultural or religious link, as providers of childcare, or as sources of emotional and financial support. Given this wide range of activities, the interest in the structure and function of families in the lives of older persons is not surprising.