One in five people is set to die a "shameful death" new research today claimed.
A book by sociology professor Allan Kellehear, claims that 20% of the population will die alone, ravaged by dementia and without dignity.
In ’A Social History of Dying’, Professor Kellehear argues this kind of death would be considered "shameful" by previous generations.
In a bleak portrait of death in the 21st century, the professor from the University of Bath, claims the act of dying is becoming increasingly "tragic and antisocial".
He argues that medical advances are enabling us to live longer but society is at a loss with how to treat this large ageing population. He said: "Most people think only fleetingly about how they will die and usually it surrounds some romantic notion dying in our sleep at home.
"This couldn’t be further from the truth; we are significantly more likely to die a prolonged death in a nursing home or hospital, preceded by multiple organ failure, pneumonia or dementia.
"As we live longer, there is every chance that we will outlive those friends and family who have traditionally seen us through our last years. It is also likely that we will have exhausted the financial means by which we would pay professionals to look after us instead."
The professor claims that the way that developed countries treat the dying is "shameful."
He argues that the act of dying may have actually been handled better by earlier generations with "good" peasant deaths surrounded by friends and family. He claims that the rise in "shameful deaths" is leading an increasing number of elderly people to consider suicide in order to take control and manage their own death.
Kellehear urges governments worldwide to re-assess how the act of dying is treated before it becomes a major crisis.
He said: "Whether it is introducing more liberal policies that enable people to better manage how they die, a closer examination of medical ethics, better training for nursing homes or support for people who care for the elderly- something needs to happen.
"We need to tackle the subject of dying head on. Talk about dying, let alone our own death, is not a popular theme for politicians or public debate.
"But there is no escape from the tragedy that will befall many of us when we die."