One in seven people is "clinging to the hope" of inheriting property or money from their parents to fund their own retirement, according to a new study.
A survey of 2,000 adults by finance firm NFU Mutual showed that most do not realise that the cost of caring for their parents will eat into their legacies.
A Freedom of Information request for the study showed that just over half of councils in the UK have cut spending on old-age residential care since 2009.
Sean McCann, of NFU Mutual, said the response from 128 city and county councils suggested a "tightening of the purse strings" on old-age care.
"Younger generations could be in for a long wait if they're banking on an inheritance to fund their retirement," he said.
"People should be making their own retirement plans rather than factoring in property and wealth that could be whittled away by the cost of care and inheritance tax."
The report added that more than a million homes have been sold in the last five years to fund care costs and more than two million elderly people have had to use their savings to fund care.