Contemporary social trends have created additional demands for families and community organizations that work to provide support to older generations. One change is the demographic shifts that are occurring
within the older population. The 2000 Census reports that 35 million people in the U.S. are over 65 years of age, which is an increase of 3.8 million from 1990 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2003). In addition to the greater number of older adults generally, the most dramatic increase is in the number within the over 85 year old population. At this point in the life course, it is probable that an older adult will be experiencing some health-related or functional impairment. As the number in the oldest cohort increases, families and society will have additional responsibility to provide assistance and care for these older adults.