Plans unveiled by the Government are to allow pensioners moving into residential care to get state loans.
The scheme would be to stop the elderly from having to sell their property immediately. Ministers want to cap the amount anyone pays towards care during their lifetime at £35,000.
People will be able to borrow money from councils at nominal interest rates, with the sum paid back after their death.
Around 40,000 people each year are forced to sell their homes to cover costs. Some local authorities have a loans system in place but it is not widely available.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is due to publish the proposals later.
Mr Lansley said: "It is hard enough for people to come to terms with needing to pay for extra help when their circumstances change - whether their health has suddenly deteriorated or age has started to take its toll.
"The last thing people want to think is having to immediately sell their home to pay for residential care.
"That is why, from April 2015, we will ensure that people will be able to delay selling their home to pay for residential care. This will give people greater flexibility and peace of mind at what can be a very traumatic time."
However, Labour says the coalition's pledges are "meaningless" and the plans do not meet the estimated £1.7bn cost.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "Today's proposals are meaningless without the money to make them a reality. George Osborne should get his act together and hand back half the money he has taken from the Health budget.
"The Government is failing to face up to England's care crisis. Older and vulnerable people are seeing support withdrawn and increased charges for care. Councils are in danger of being overwhelmed and the NHS simply won't be able to function if things are left as they are."
The level of interest that would be paid on these loans is still the subject of negotiations between the Government and local authorities.
While an additional £300 million is being transferred from the NHS to social care over the next two years to try to improve the services.