Campaigners have called for retirement laws to be scrapped after research showed that 100,000 people were forced to stop work around the age of 65 last year.
Age Concern and Help the Aged said the use of mandatory retirement ages had "soared" during the recession and was much higher than in 2006 when the so-called default retirement age was introduced.
The charity said a survey of almost 1,000 people aged between 60 and 70 suggested that employers were using forced retirement as a "cheap and easy alternative" to redundancy during the economic downturn.
One in four of those questioned said they knew a friend or colleague who had been forced to retire at or after 65.
The charity said many more people in their 60s faced the prospect of forced retirement as it urged all political parties to commit to scrapping age-related legislation.
Director Michelle Mitchell said: "Our survey clearly shows the use of forced retirement has spiralled out of control, offering some employers a low-cost shortcut to shed jobs during the recession.
"The default retirement age has stamped an expiry date on hundreds of thousands of older workers. It's the most disturbing example of age discrimination which still tarnishes later life for so many people."
The demand was part of the charity's pre-election manifesto, which included calls for increased pensions, reform of the care system and an end to the "scandal" of malnutrition in hospitals.