Proposals to place care homes "at the heart of the local community" have been unveiled in a new report which looks to overcome the "stigma" felt by both care workers and older people.
While care homes are expected to play an ever-increasing role in supporting older people in the future, the report says they are being held back by a culture of "negativity".
Dealing with the problems associated with the ageing population in the UK has become a top priority for politicians. They are being urged to act swiftly to ensure the funding of social care does not get any worse and that a system is in place that allows older people to live out the rest of their lives with dignity.
One of the areas that is likely to see an expansion is care homes, but the report is concerned that too many of them lack engagement with their local community at the moment, and also lack support from health services and local authorities.
The report has been released by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation following a three-year study by the My Home Life programme.
The programme was funded by Age UK, the foundation, City University and Dementia UK.
The aim of the study was to discover best practice in care homes so that recommendations could be made to the sector as a whole on ways to meet the "needs, aspirations and quality of life" of residents and staff.
The study also wants to make sure that care homes provide "compassionate care and companionship" for the people who have moved into them, in order to maintain a certain quality of life.
In order to achieve this the report said that the quality of care "has to be the responsibility of the whole community, not just the staff", with nearby residents encouraged to share in the life of each home.
The report also urged the Government to help reduce paperwork so that care home managers can spend more time on what matters most - the people involved.