Future expectations of support in old age and current conditions of living among the elderly are analysed in the context of changing socio-economic structures in a South Indian village. Evidence shows that the traditional means of support - sons - are becoming less reliable. The experience of the elderly, on the other hand, shows that the elderly are in a worse economic situation than would be expected from the Indian cultural ideal. In particular, the poor and women are most affected in terms of old-age support. The evidence about the link between fertility and old-age support suggests a middle position in the Cain-Vlassoff debate. While existing living conditions make children the main source of support in old age, they are becoming less reliable as a result of recent economic and social changes.