Elderly and disabled people who receive "flying" care visits are being forced to choose between staying thirsty and going to the toilet.
An MP's proposal of means-testing winter fuel payments is dismissed by the Coalition. But who will deal with funding social care?
John and Clare Merry both have Alzheimer's. The money to pay for their care is running out and their family faces a difficult choice.
Councils are committed to helping people maintain their independence and dignity in old age and provide the best care they can on limited funds, the Local Government Association has said.
A report from the ECHR criticises the poor working conditions facing carers, which they say can lead to neglect and abuse.
– Chairwoman of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board Katie Hall
As the report acknowledges, the social care system is under enormous strain, with unprecedented cuts to council funding making it increasingly difficult to meet the escalating demand for care which is being caused by our ageing population. While this means councils have to seek greater levels of efficiency, the quality of care remains the primary concern.
Poor working conditions for carers are leaving the most vulnerable people exposed to "neglectful or abusive treatment" at the hands of those meant to look after them, a new report has warned.
Care workers face a combination of inadequate pay, high pressure and a lack of support for looking after the elderly and disabled, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said.
Despite performing a role similar to a nurse, which requires "significant compassion and skill" and "maturity and resilience", carers are usually perceived to be "lower status".
EHRC commissioner Sarah Veale said conditions were contributing to a "high staff turnover" and were "putting older people's human rights at risk".
The care minister Norman Lamb has said it is "unrealistic" to think 15 minutes is enough time to provide adequate care to the elderly and disabled.
Data obtained from 63 local authorities in England by a care charity found that three-fifths now commission 15-minute visits, despite concerns that short visits "deprive" people of essential care.
Norman Lamb said there were too many examples of councils buying "rushed care visits": "It's unrealistic to think that 15 minutes is enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed.
"It's not fair on those who need support and it's not fair on care workers."
The minister insisted the Government needed to help provide "better care for the 300,000 people currently getting home care" and for those likely to need it in the future.
Shorter care visits to elderly and disabled people are "fully justified", the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) has argued.
Data obtained by the Leonard Chesire Disability charity found the number of 15-minute care visits in England were on the rise, despite concerns that shorter visits "deprive" people of essential care.
However, Adass president Sandie Keene insisted 15-minute visits are "fully justified and fully adequate", adding: "It is totally wrong to believe that all tasks need more than 15 minutes to carry out.
"And frankly naive to believe that simply by abolishing 15-minute slots a magic wand will have been waved, and improvements automatically achieved in our care services. It doesn't work like that."
The number of 15-minute care visits to elderly and disabled people are on the rise, despite concern the short visits "deprive" people of essential care.
Data obtained from 63 local authorities by Leonard Cheshire Disability found three-fifths now commission 15-minute visits.
A new report by the charity estimates the proportion of visits that last 15 minutes or less has risen by 15 percent over the past five years.
The report said that the short visits "simply do not allow enough time to deliver good-quality care".
People are concerned about the quality of care their elderly relatives receive, according to new research.
An analysis of a survey completed by 2,000 people has found that almost a quarter of participants (23%) rated homecare agencies as having sub-standard care, with care homes close behind at 15%.
The biggest concern for more than 84% of people choosing a care home was cost and quality of care or specialist care.
In contrast, the quality of care children receive was rated highly, despite being expensive, with 90% of those who wrote on the site about childcare leaving positive reviews.
But childcare providers were rated low for value for money and 8% of childcare reviews were negative specifically about the value of money.
Nearly three-quarters of people are concerned about the care their elderly relatives receive, with many thinking it is substandard, new research has shown.
A study of reviews left on feedback website the Good Care Guide showed that many people viewed elderly care as needing improvement, with nearly three quarters (71%) of negative reviews on the site directed towards care provided by homecare agencies and care homes.
The Good Care Guide, launched a year ago, works like TripAdvisor, allowing people the chance to find, rate and review care providers.
An analysis of more than 2,000 reviews - which grouped those with 0-3 stars as negative, and those with 4-5 as positive - revealed concerns for the care elderly people receive, with 71% of negative reviews directed towards homecare agencies and care homes.
Joan Bakewell, the last Labour government's spokesperson for the elderly told ITV News, "I think it's very important to start debate on this."
"However, Paul Burstow has set the bar very low, and I think to suggest that everybody except those who are on pension credits is spreading the net far too wide. A lot of older people need that money."