Objectives: Aging is pushing states to rethink long-term care policies in several dimensions. This study aims to characterize the reality of dependent older people regarding their demographic and health characteristics, to describe their informal carers and understand the availability of informal care.; Methods: A cross-sectional study was developed in Portugal in 2013. Descriptive statistical analyses and binary logistic analysis were conducted.; Results: Results show that the informal long-term care sector is primarily aimed at older people with severe limitations in their activities of daily living and at the chronically ill, particularly older women. Additionally, 39.5% of dependent older persons do not have informal care and only receive informal aid in cases of extreme need.; Discussion: Results show a critical situation for both social groups (older persons and caregivers) and the prospect of an alarming situation in the near future (aging and reduced availability of informal caregivers) unless a new approach for long-term care is developed.