Care giving situations contain several features that offer opportunities for expanding the way that collaborative cognition is conceptualised and explored. These features are the presence of several possible contributors, more than one kind of change in participation, distinctions drawn among parts of a task, and differences in understanding based on interests. All represent departures from the traditional focus on dyads, tasks that emphasise one kind of change only, single problems, and differences in competence or expertise. All are also features likely to be found in everyday problem solving. Study 1 focuses on family contributions, based on reports by care givers about their current situation and their preferences for the involvement of other family members. Study 2 presents a standard family scenario and focuses on the views held by care givers, older adults, and community nurses about the reasonableness of various changes in participation. Results are discussed in terms of the ways situations such as care giving can help build a richer picture of collaborative cognition, one that is applicable to a variety of tasks and to all parts of the life span.