This article asks how family relationships affect the living conditions of low-income elderly people in urban Mexico. The existence of so many elderly women living alone in the country is at odds with cultural beliefs portraying mothers as the archetypal recipients of family charity. It is evident that there is little state provision of accommodation for the elderly, forcing older people to rely on their families for care. Living with family is usually thought to be a better option for older people. Yet many poorer families cannot afford to provide care, and some are not willing to do so. In addition, families treat elderly men and women differently, with significant consequences for housing conditions and well-being of men and women in later life.