The new white paper in England is an opportunity for services to stop and think about their relationship with families. This article looks specifically at the situation of older family carers and why services often fail to 'make sense' to them. It shows that these families often do not get the support they need, leaving them in great anxiety about the future. Examples are given of practical initiatives that have worked successfully with older families. There are lessons for all staff working with people with learning disabilities who have older relatives - whether they work in day or residential services or are responsible for commissioning services.