One in seven of the older population, or 1.5m people, have unmet care needs, according to Age UK.
Launching its General Election Manifesto, Age UK estimated the figure to rise to 2.1m by 2030 if the government fails to act.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “It is shameful that one and a half million older people are living with some degree of unmet need for care, equivalent to one in seven of our entire older population. For the last few years these figures have been getting worse as governments dither over how to overhaul a system of care that everyone agrees is no longer fit for purpose.
“Some older people are fortunate and receive good care from committed staff which makes a huge difference to their lives, but far too many are going without the support they need to live decently and with dignity.”
The charity called for a £8bn investment in social care over the next two years as recommended by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee in July.
Age UK added it wanted a new much improved national care system where the risk of developing a need for care is pooled on a whole population basis and is funded through taxation so that it is free at the point of use.
The charity also called for an independent, standardised national eligibility threshold and assessment process for accessing care which is set a ‘moderate’ level to maximise qualification.
Care quality should also be improved by investing in the care workforce, the charity said.