Numerous researchers have studied the black family in American society. Unfortunately, too few have focused on the role of the family in the life of the elderly. In this paper it is my intention to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the black family and, in particular, on the black family member as confidant.

Frazier, in a book, The Black Family, edited by Robert Staples, discusses the character of the black family during the various stages of its development. He purports that the black family has been affected by the social isolation of blacks in American society. Frazier believes that it has been the family that has aided the black individual's survival in the face of this isolation. The family as the focus of survival is an interesting concept when considering the status of the elderly in America. Segregated groups and existing institutions have hardly provided refuge for the white elderly let alone for the black elderly. It is conceivable that the family plays an important role in the lives of the black elderly as they confront the changes and crises of growing old in America.

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