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This study characterizes the demographic backgrounds of patients in an Israeli geriatric rehabilitation unit, determines the factors associated with their family relationships and the instrumental support they received, and emphasizes the importance of social roles as a personal resource. The study population consisted of 336 low-income Jews, all of whom were immigrants. Virtually all of the subjects had a small, close support network composed mainly of their children and spouses. Their children were the most important source of instrumental support during their hospitalization. The subjects' sources of instrumental support prior to hospitalization varied, depending upon their age, gender, marital status, and social roles. Social exchange theory provided a framework for explaining their social roles. Factors found to be predictors of good family relationships were marital status, living arrangements, instrumental support, social roles, and educational level.