The Netherlands Interuniversity Demographic Institute (N.I.D.I.) and the Population and Family Study Centre (C.B.G.S.) evidence the growing importance attached to the field of social gerontology. The two institutions are designed to coordinate and to stimulate all kind of re~ search in the field of population and family. Long-run trends in demographic processes of mortality and fertility have had consequences for the kin network. The increasing nurober of aged peo~le in the total population and the reduced number of descendants to whom an older person may turn for assistance is becoming a real problem in Western .society. The problem of the Elderly is too im portant in order to be neglected. Volume VIII of the N.I.D.I.-C.B.G.S. publications contains a number of articles concerning the family life in Old Age. The European Social Research Committee on Ageing held two colloquia on this topic. The papers presen ted at the Dubrovnik meeting, Yugoslavia 1976, and at the Ystad meeting, Sweden 1977, are published in this volume. The editors hope that this volume, the eighth in their yearly publication series, will serve to give more insight in the complex problem of the elderly in our society and hope that more cross cultural research will be undertaken.