This article reports findings from a PhD study which explored the involvement of older people in adult safeguarding. The aim was to gain a greater understanding of the key barriers to involvement in this area. The research applied a qualitative approach, underpinned by a critical realist research paradigm. In depth, semi structured interviews were conducted with key stakeholders, including social workers, advocates and family members of older people who had been involved in the safeguarding process, as well as members of the Adult Safeguarding Boards in two North East of England local authorities. Observations of key strategic meetings of the Safeguarding Adults Boards and associated subgroups were also undertaken, as well as an analysis of the local authorities’ key policy and guidance documents. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes from the data. A number of key barriers to involvement were identified and are presented within this paper. These are explored and discussed in relation to the ways in which the construction of vulnerability and the positioning of older people within society, and within adult safeguarding in particular, has contributed to them. Overall, it is argued that older people are considered to be inherently vulnerable, and that this reduces their opportunities to be engaged in adult safeguarding processes. A number of recommendations for practice and policy are made.