Voluntary-sector care homes in Scotland may close unless local authorities provide another £34 million to keep them running.
The warning comes from umbrella body Scottish Care, which represents both voluntary- and private-sector care homes.
Joe Campbell, chief executive of Scottish Care, said lives might be put at risk unless more money is forthcoming from the Scottish Executive.
The executive has already set aside £50 million for care homes in 2003 but Scottish Care says this grossly underestimates the cost of care.
Campbell said: "The true cost of care has been established beyond any objective argument, not just by us, but by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
"I don't think any responsible person involved in the administration of care disputes the figures which are £80 per person per week more than we now receive."