The government's failure to take action over ageism is threatening lives, according to Age Concern.
The charity points specifically to the lack of legislation outlawing age discrimination, resulting in the elderly missing out on life-saving treatment and services and being discouraged from accessing vital health tests.
Age Concern claims that, as the primary users of health services, ageism means older people often receive inferior care and unequal public services.
Ageism is three times more common than any form of discrimination, yet does not receive the same attention, causing older people to regularly get a raw deal when searching for insurance and other financial products, as well as in the delivery of health care.
Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: "At present, older people can be openly and unfairly discriminated against simply because of their age.
"It means they can be denied life-saving or life-enhancing medical treatment, its means they are unfairly charged a premium and its means they can receive inferior service simply because of their age."
He continued: "It is now time to offer the same protection for older people who have, for too long, been treated as second class citizens."