It is only partly true to say that those who staff old people’s homes are the creators of care since residents themselves contribute, by their presence and through their dependencies, to the exchanges which take place around the acts of giving and receiving support. However, having said this, it is the activity of providing care rather than the passivity of receiving it which comes across as the more ‘creative’ part of the process and it is, of course, the staff as a whole which is engaged in this undertaking. Here we consider both the ideals and the practice of caring in local authority residential homes and, having regard for the gaps which inevitably occur between ideals, policies, and practices, examine the relationships or connections between these parameters-for, while residents experience, in a very direct way, the consequences of particular practices, the influences which shape residential care may impinge only indirectly on residents’ lives. To the extent that residents share with staff an appreciation of the ideals on which support is founded, it might be said that both parties create rather than collude in care.