Almost 700,000 older people in need of some sort of care or support are being left to fend for themselves, a charity has warned.
Age UK said 696,500 people who need help with everyday tasks such as getting out of bed, going to the toilet, washing and getting dressed are struggling to cope on their own without any support at all.
Meanwhile 487,400 receive some help but not enough, the charity added.
This means that almost 1.2 million people over the age of 65 are living with some sort of unmet need, according to the charity's new analysis.
The figure - a 48% rise from 2010 - means that one in eight older people are not getting the support they need, Age UK said.
Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: "It is shameful that more than one in every eight older people in this country are now living with some level of unmet need for care, and we are extremely worried about the quarter of a million older people with multiple unmet care needs, struggling alone: how many of them are constantly in and out of hospital because they are unable to cope at home?
"The sad irony is that it would be far more cost effective, as well as infinitely more humane, to give these older people the care and support they need.
"All this adds up to a compelling case for giving social care the priority it deserves in the Government's forthcoming Autumn Statement.
"It is high time the Government acts."
Commenting on Age UK's analysis, Izzi Seccombe, chairwoman of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, said: "Unless social care is properly funded, there remains a growing risk to the quality and safety of care, and the ability of services caring for our elderly and vulnerable to meet basic needs such as ensuring people are washed and dressed or helped out of bed.
"The Government must use the Autumn Statement to provide councils with the funding to ensure we have a fair care system which ensures the care our loved ones receive goes beyond just helping them to get washed, dressed and fed, but to supporting them to live dignified, independent lives, as well as alleviating the pressure on the NHS."
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We are determined to make sure that older people throughout the country can get affordable and dignified care.
"That's why we have introduced reforms to ensure no-one should have to sell their home to pay for care in their lifetime.
"We are significantly increasing the amount of money local authorities have access to for social care, by up to £3.5 billion by 2020.
"Our Care Act gave new rights to carers and we will publish further details on a new Carers Strategy in the coming months."