This article addresses debates on modernisation, ageing and intergenerational support in developing/emerging economies. By examining the impact of rural to urban migration on elder support in Chinese rural families, it examines how support is being renegotiated and the implications this holds for experiences of growing older. It is positioned critically within the Chinese rural families literature, both drawing on research that reveals the continued influence of familial culture (Silverstein 2009; Lin and Yi 2011, 2013; Guo, Chi and Silverstein 2011) while arguing that this research has under-examined the strain this places on rural families, emerging conflicts and the potentially negative implications for gender and ageing. A gendered intergenerational lens is adopted to examine how generations experience and interpret these changes in the form and delivery of intergenerational support. The article focuses on the experiences and lives of the older parents, and older women in particular, to address some of the oversights in existing literature.