It is clear that family relationships have been important for older people in the past and continue to be important in the present. As the baby boom ages, the proportion of older people living in marriages will decline and the proportion who are childless will increase. Thus one might anticipate that family relationships would play a smaller role in the lives of older people in the future. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that the family will lose its place as the most important source of social and emotional support for people as they age through later life.
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