Consumer-directed care is increasingly becoming a mainstream option in community-based aged care. However, a systematic review describing how the current evaluation research translates into practise has not been published to date. This review aimed to systematically establish an evidence base of user preferences for and satisfaction with services associated with consumer-directed care programmes for older people. Twelve databases were searched, including MedLine, BioMed Central, Cinahl, Expanded Academic ASAP, PsychInfo, ProQuest, Age Line, Science Direct, Social Citation Index, Sociological Abstracts, Web of Science and the Cochrane Library. Google Scholar and Google were also searched. Eligible studies were those reporting on choice, user preferences and service satisfaction outcomes regarding a programme or model of home-based care in the United States or United Kingdom. This systematic narrative review retrieved literature published from January 1992 to August 2011. A total of 277 references were identified. Of these 17 met the selection criteria and were reviewed. Findings indicate that older people report varying preferences for consumer-directed care with some demonstrating limited interest. Clients and carers reported good service satisfaction. However, research comparing user preferences across countries or investigating how ecological factors shape user preferences has received limited attention. Policy-makers and practitioners need to carefully consider the diverse contexts, needs and preferences of older adults in adopting consumer-directed care approaches in community aged care. The review calls for the development of consumer-directed care programmes offering a broad range of options that allow for personalisation and greater control over services without necessarily transferring the responsibility for administrative responsibilities to service users. Review findings suggest that consumer-directed care approaches have the potential to empower older people.