Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has announced new proposals which will enable pensioners entering retirement homes to receive loans to help cover care costs.
Under the plans, older people will not be expected to put their property up on the market straight away, but can borrow money from the state at low interest rates towards residential
care home fees. It is thought the debt would be paid back after they pass away.
Mr Lansley believes the initiative could help some 40,000 adults in retirement age each year who have no choice but to sell their houses to drum up funds for care. A number of local councils throughout the UK already conduct a similar scheme, but supplies differ within each region.
The new programme is expected to be rolled out across England in three years' time.
Meanwhile, discussions on social care reforms had stalled at the weekend after ministers revealed they would not make a decision on funding until the spending review in 2013. But Mr Lansley said: "We agree in principle that a limit on the amount that people pay themselves for the long-term care they receive would be the right way forward."