Objectives: To investigate the determinants of satisfaction in caregiving and to compare satisfaction in care-giving amongst carers of demented and non-demented mentally infirm elders; and, assess carer attitudes and concerns, and their implications on care in the community.; Design: Cross-sectional study of informal carers of the elderly referred to a psychogeriatric service, using a questionnaire investigating carer satisfaction (CASI), care-recipient dependency needs, carer burden (CADI), carer concerns and attitudes in relation to caregiving, and the 28-item GHQ.; Setting: Lancashire communities of Fleetwood, Thornton-Cleveleys, Poulton-Le-Fylde, and Over-Wyre.; Results: Carers achieved significant degrees of satisfaction in their role as care-givers; there was no significant difference in the degree of satisfaction gained by carers of the demented and non-demented. The mean CASI score, for carers of the demented and non-demented was 23(5.5) and 24.4 (5.7) respectively (mean difference -2.9; CI -4.6, 0.1; p=0.058). Dissatisfaction in care giving was determined by total burden (CADI) scores, and younger carer age. Emotional distress in carers was weakly inversely correlated with CASI scores (r=-0.21, p=0.042). Concerns expressed by carers, included desire for information on care recipient disability (39.5%) and fear of nursing/residential home placements (43%). Most carers had a generally positive attitude to care giving, in spite of significant degrees of burden to which they were subjected. Conclusions: Carer-related factors, particularly younger age, rather than dependency factors, were determinant of care giving satisfaction. Greater involvement of older persons in care giving should be encouraged, with younger persons assisting if care giving becomes overbearing. Carers require education on care-recipient disabilities and the benefits of care in formal care institutions.