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In virtually all the developed countries of the Western world, people are living longer and reproducing less. At the same time, costs for the care of the elderly and infirm continue to rise dramatically. Given these facts, it should come as surprise that we are experi- encing an ever-increasing concern with questions relating to the proper care and treatment of the aged. What responsibilities do soci- eties have to their aging citizens? What duties, if any, do grown chil- dren owe their parents? What markers should we use to determine one's status as elderly ? Does treatment of pain in aged patients present special medical and/or moral problems? How can the com- peting claims of automy and optimal medical care be reconciled for elderly persons who require assisted living? When, if ever, should severely demented patients be included in ntherapeutic clinical tri- als? These questions, and others of similar interest to those con- cerned with the proper treatment of the aged, are discussed in depth in the articles included in this text. The essays in this volume of Biomedical Ethics Reviews fall loosely into two broad categories. The first four articles-those con- tributed by Sheila M. Neysmith, Allyson Robichaud, Jennifer Jackson, and Susan McCarthy-raise general questions concerning the propri- ety of Western society'S current mechanisms for dealing with and treat- ing elderly citizens. The remaining four articles-those by Simon Woods and Max Elstein, Marshall B.