Demographic and social changes in Europe and OECD countries have increased the number of dependents in recent decades, challenging the organisation of health systems and raising calls for re‐definition of long‐term care services. In Spain the crisis of care has challenged a care regime based strongly on the family. Recent social policies have attempted to address this challenge. This article analyses the ideal of family care expressed by women who have traditionally played the role of caregivers. Reflecting a disruption of previously held moral attitudes throughout society, elderly women manifest new expectations in relation to their own care, redefining the scope of filial obligation and linking it to a renewed notion of independency and autonomy. However, in the current context of financial crisis, family care appears not as a choice, but an undesirable consequence of the lack of public policies. The study applies a theoretical approach based on the anthropology of moralities.