Elderly couples could soon be able to remain together even when one of them goes into care, according to Alan Johnson.
Speaking at the Labour Activists conference on Sunday, the health secretary said that couples who have lived together all their lives should not be forced apart as they get older.
"This week (care services minister) Ivan Lewis and I will be setting out plans to enable elderly couples to remain together when one of them has to go in to care," he continued.
"This will be part of our increasing focus on adult social care."
The move has been welcomed by the charity Help the Aged which claims that couples are often forced apart by the cost of care.
A spokesperson for the charity said that care services should be more flexible and creative in finding ways to look after the elderly.
Meanwhile, Age Concern recently called for improved services and care homes for the elderly.
The charity's annual report stated that the government needed to set out a positive vision for elderly care after the budget for providing social care to older people was increased by just one per cent last year.
Please click here for advice about finding the right type of care.