Old age is not of itself a medical ‘problem’, pathology or statement of need. ‘Older people’ or an ‘aging population’ are not a homogeneous group and categorisation as a distinct service user group is, arguably, contentious (Chen and Powell, 2010). Furthermore, since the advent of personalisation in the UK for particular, conceptualizing support by user groups is considered by many as obsolete (Poll and Duffy 2008). People do not receive health services by virtue of being ‘older’. Rather they are in need of a service - for example, because of ill health, physical impairment, mental health difficulties, addiction or offending. This article will enable us to consider the implications of the re-figuring of the relationship between the state, older people and health professions and social work. This constructs an ambiguous place for older people: they feature either as a resource - captured in the idea of the ‘active citizen’, as affluent consumers, volunteers or providers of child care - or as a problem in the context of poverty, vulnerability and risk.