This paper examines four specific themes relating to older carers' experience: care-giving in the context of particular roles and relationships embedded in biographical histories; care in the context of dementia; care involving skilled or complex health care-tasks; and care of an intimate/personal nature. In each case, we look at the nature of support provided by health care professionals. Analysis of the data suggests several conclusions. Older carers are carrying out a range of tasks including complex health care tasks, many of which were once part of a nurse's remit and role. Nurses approach older carers as a unique but not homogeneous group and acknowledge many of their distinct needs as well as their right to choice concerning the extent of their involvement in care-giving. However, this approach conceals several implicit assumptions and expectations about the role of older carers. In particular, professionals' emphasis on older people's individual choice jars with the latter's own experience of reciprocity existing within the context of lifetime relationships. The paper suggests that modifications have to be made in professionals' approach if older people are to be presented with choice and support in the care-giving they perform.