Client engagement is an important part of contemporary aged care. However, the extent to which decisions are delegated to the older person, and the scope of issues about which decision making occurs, vary. The types of engagement that are offered to, and taken up by, aged-care clients have implications for the extent of power and influence older people hold. This paper reports on a qualitative study conducted in a large Australian service provider. It identifies the forms that client engagement takes in the aged-care context, the roles for staff and older people that are enacted through these activities, and the implications these have for power relationships and older people's influence. An inverse relationship was seen between the depth and scope of client influence, but a desire to address this suggested potential spaces for greater empowerment. A relationship was evident between the retention of control by staff and the perceived effectiveness of existing engagement strategies, highlighting the limitations of traditional power dynamics in engagement practice. An expanded model of engagement in aged care is proposed that recognises the foundational role of connection building as a facilitator of greater empowerment for older people. Implications for theory regarding engagement in aged care, and the practice of engagement in aged-care organisations, are discussed.