Thousands of elderly people 'missing out' on home care support
Elderly people are being denied services they previously would have received, according to research by a care body.
Scottish Care said "radical action" was needed to reform home care services.
Its study found the number of people assessed as requiring free personal and nursing care had reduced after a tightening of eligibility criteria.
The Scottish government said free personal care benefits around 77,000 people in Scotland each year.
A spokeswoman said: "We are absolutely committed to delivering the policy."
Scottish Care, the representative body for the country's independent social care services, said older people who would have received support at an earlier stage for tasks like housework or cooking were now receiving much less support or none at all.
Its report "Bringing Home Care" will be launched at a conference in Glasgow on Friday.
Scottish Care's chief executive officer Dr Donald Macaskill said: "Whilst we fully support the existence of free personal and nursing care and value its role in supporting people with social care costs, what we have seen since its introduction in 2002 is a move towards less people receiving more care.
"Whilst this reflects the reality of constrained budgets, it means that many older people are being denied the support they need to enable them to live for as long as possible in their own homes."
Dr Macaskill said delaying or denying access to care was financially "counterproductive" as it would probably lead to more hospital visits.
It also had a negative impact on older people's health and wellbeing, he added.
A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "The intensity of home care for older people is increasing, with more time spent on average with those in receipt of care, enabling those with the highest level of need to stay in their own home for longer.
"We have also taken action to protect and grow our social care services. In the current year there will be almost half a billion pounds of NHS investment in social care and integration.
"Through this, this government is enabling, for the first time, adult care workers in Scotland to be paid the real Living Wage of £8.45 from 1st May 2017. This will benefit up to 40,000 people."