Eight in 10 adults have not thought of or discussed where they would like to be cared for if they became seriously ill or frail, a new poll has shown.
And just 5pc have formally set out where they want to be cared for.
The findings from Safeguarding Ireland also show that 70pc of people are "confused about decision-making and consent protocols when caring for a seriously ill or frail older person".
Safeguarding Ireland called for a major change in attitudes and behaviour on sensitive care issues with greater consideration, conversation and recording of wishes on where we would like to be cared for if we became unable to live independently in the future.
The research, carried out using Red C's omnibus survey, found that just 21pc of adults had personally considered where their preferred place of care would be if they were seriously ill or nearing death.
Only 17pc had discussed this with a family member, friend or other trusted person, and as few as 5pc had documented their preference.
Safeguarding Ireland chairperson Patricia Rickard-Clarke said this finding showed very clearly the need for all adults to think about their wishes, talk with those they trust and document their choices.
"The message from Safeguarding Ireland is to plan ahead - turn your wishes into plans.
"Make known about where they would like to be cared for," she said.
"If in the future you did not have decision-making capacity where would you choose to live - at home with supports, with a family member or friend, in a nursing home or hospice, or remain in hospital?
"While it may not always be possible to deliver all of these wishes, by being known they can be considered and respected.
"Planning ahead protects rights and respects choices."