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This review synthesizes research during the past 15 years on the family relations of older persons. After discussing two background issues - sociodemographic changes of later life families and the status of the elderly-the following topics are addressed; relationships between aged parents and adult children, couple relationships, grandparents' relationship with their grandchildren and sibling relationships. Family relationships are vital support systems providing emotional and instrumental support in the lives of older persons. Mutual assistance and affection among family members were found to be common characteristics. Although research on family gerontology has increased in quantity, there are greater needs to develop qualitative, longitudinal and theory grounded studies to capture the rich complexity of family life. Other challenges and suggestions for future research on older persons' family relationship are presented.