This article aims to describe how physiotherapists working with frail older people talk about their clients. Semi-structured qualitative interviews with physiotherapists (n = 11) were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using discourse analysis. Two accounts were identified: (i) older adults as recipients of a treatment intervention at the rehabilitation centre, with the dimensions 'a focus on physical impairments' and 'a focus on social needs' and (ii) older adults as partners in an exercise intervention to support their everyday living at home. Older adults' everyday living context was not considered in the approach where, in an isolated and objectified manner, the physiotherapists focused on physical impairments. Placing great emphasis on the clients' social needs in turn implied passive treatments. In both instances the physiotherapists' activities were focused on the present, that is, the time of the clients' stay at the rehabilitation facility, rather than on their everyday challenges at home. These aspects were taken into accounts to a greater extent when older adults were positioned as partners and functional limitations were contemplated in relation to domestic daily living.