Salvation Army reveals neglect of elderly
One-fifth of Britons do not want to care for elderly relatives, a report for the Salvation Army has suggested.
People were reluctant to care for others as there was little "return" for them, said the Henley Centre report.
Many people believed the government, charities, the private sector and individuals should share responsibility for care, the organisation said.
The study also identified children, carers and the disabled as needy.
However, there was confusion about who should provide what care.
It urged discussion between the so-called four pillars of care in order to avoid vulnerable people falling through the gaps in care.
The report identified the needy as "the time-consuming, the unfashionable and the unrewarding".
People were naturally less inclined to spend valuable time on things that, whilst being "worthy", did not seem to have a justifiable "return" on them or fell outside their interest, it said.
The research indicated that in contemporary British society, 21% of Britons do not want to care for their elderly relatives and 34% are concerned that there will not be anyone to look after them when they are old.
Thirty-seven percent agree that the government is currently having to fund many of the basic social services that should be provided by the family.
The Salvation Army's Captain Dean Pallant, who worked on the report, told BBC News society had become more "me-focused".
He said: "We are very busy, we don't have much time and we lack energy.
"We are moving a lot and we don't have commitment to one geographical area."
Captain Pallant said the report did not want to apportion blame but sought "creative solutions" such as a government scheme to reward volunteering.
The study found that while the private sector was increasingly playing a more important role in this area, 80% of people agreed that companies had a responsibility to help support the society in which they operate.
The army warned that such a gap would "inevitably lead to high numbers of elderly people having to care for themselves at home, low-income families blighted by a lack of affordable childcare, informal carers receiving little or no respite and people suffering from addictions having little or no access to detox programmes".