In light of an increased ageing population, policy makers are faced with the urgent problem of planning programmes that reflect active ageing or, in other words, the promotion of activities that help individuals to remain active in a societal context. The construct of agency, defined as the capacity to make decisions and to address situations depending on the individual's future plans, reflects a specific normative criterion: individuals are expected to live in an active and productive way, while those who are unable to live up to this expectation are considered dependent, passive, unproductive, weak. From a social constructionist perspective, the current study proposes a critical reflection on the qualities usually attributed to the construct of agency that are liable to appear reductive and oppressive when applied to an elderly population. Once the basic premises underlying agency, as it is commonly defined in the Western tradition, have been deconstructed, a different conceptualisation, based on interviews with older individuals, will be presented. The current work aims to produce a different conceptual framework that will permit examination of experiences and organisational modalities of agency typifying later life. The comments made by the interviewees in many cases resonate with ideas contained in Taoist philosophy and, more specifically, with the concept of disponibilité (or disponibility) outlined by the French sinologist François Jullien, which we discuss here.