For at least three decades, the importance of kin in the lives of the elderly has been of central interest to gerontologists. After a period in which it was widely believed that families abandoned elderly relatives, social scientists convincingly demonstrated that children and parents continue to interact and depend on one another for both emotional and instrumental support throughout the life course (cf. Bengtson & Robertson, 1985; Brody, Johnsen, Fulcomer, & Lang, 1984; Cicirelli, 1983; Johnson Bursk, 1977; Nydegger, 1983; Shanas, 1979; Troll, Miller, & Atchley, 1979).