The purpose of this paper is to test alternative models of long-term caring motives. We consider three main motives: pure altruism, exchange and family norm. Our database is the second wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) which allows linking almost perfectly and with complete information children and their parents’ characteristics. Comparing the empirical results to the theoretical models developed, it appears that, depending on the regions analyzed, long-term caring is driven by moderate altruism or by family norm, while Alessie et al. (De Economist 162(2):193–213, 2014), also using SHARE data, stress the importance of exchange motive in intergenerational transfers.