A significant number of elderly people are not getting access to services they are entitled to.
A TILDA report on ageing shows many avoidable health issues are affecting people's end of life experience - and almost half die in a hospital setting.
Professor Charles Normand at Trinity College Dublin says many people are unaware of services that are available.
He said: "Quite a lot of these people, didn't know these services existed at all or if they did know about them, they did not know how to get access to them."
Catherine Cox is the head of Carer Engagement for Family Carers Ireland.
She says more recognition needs to be given to the unpaid help provided by friend-and-family networks.
She said: "An interesting in the survey was around the fact that 42% of all care received at end of life is provided by unpaid family carers.
"Despite this high level of care, family carers remain overwhelmingly unsupported by the state - that is something Family Carers Ireland have been saying for many years and this report backs that up."