That older people should be consumers and active agents has dominated policy discourse across health, social care and housing that has a core care function. This discourse has some established and long-standing critics, such as Gilleard and Higgs, and yet the central question(s) a consumerist discourse raises remains surprisingly relevant today. The purpose of this forum article is to reconsider the viability of active agency amongst older people in the context of empirical research on information-giving across health, social care and housing that has been published since the paper by Gilleard and Higgs in 1998. Information-giving is the key consumer choice mechanism, and yet research is currently located in separate literatures. Giving these separate fields some coherence engages with and provides important empirical commentary. There is little or no evidence that information alone triggers active agency for older people in regard to their health, social care or housing. However, there is consistent evidence that discussion, deliberation and dialogue – or the practices associated with Habermas’ theory of communicative action – are desirable to older people in the context of active agency. More research is needed to demonstrate efficacy beyond communicative approaches being desirable.