Action must be taken to create communities that enable older people to stay active, campaigners have urged.
The Centre for Ageing says many people are set to spend their later life in poverty, ill-health and loneliness.
It says the profile of society is changing rapidly and the number of people aged over 65 will increase by more than 40% within 20 years.
But its report, The State of Ageing in 2019, says that without fundamental changes the challenges of increasing numbers of older people will have 'dire consequences'.
It says structural, economic and social drivers of poor health should be tackled earlier and the 'creaking' housing stock needs to be overhauled so that people can live independently and safely.
Asian and black people are twice as likely to be poor in later life that white people, according to the findings.
The report says local government, businesses and the voluntary and community sectors need to create communities that make it 'easier to stay active and connected'.
'This will require support for community activities that are inclusive and accessible to us regardless of age or disability.
'Transport and the design of our towns and cities can enable us to get out and about, or it can create barriers, especially for those with health conditions and disabilities.'