Ministers have pledged £67 million to improve the standard of care homes across England.
Charities have long campaigned for dignity in elderly care
The government says it wants a zero tolerance attitude to abuse of the elderly, who must be treated with 'dignity and respect'.
Health Minister Ivan Lewis said the money would enable local authorities to improve the physical environment of care homes.
This would allow them to be more responsive to the needs of the elderly.
There are also plans for a new network of local champions of dignity - an army of volunteers working to raise the profile of dignity in care locally.
Mr Lewis said: "The generation which built this country has a right to expect excellence in the support and care they receive.
"Older people deserve a care system where there is zero tolerance of abuse and disrespect."
Paul Cann, of the charity Help the Aged, welcomed the announcement - but warned real change would require a long-tem commitment.
He said: "We hope that the government will see this as much more than a short-term initiative - we are looking for a long-term commitment to changing not just care practice, but the whole culture of our care services."
Gordon Lishman, of Age Concern, said: "Too often older people's rights and feelings are trampled on because of other priorities.
"We hope this campaign brings to an end undignified and uncaring services that older people have too often had to endure."
Martin Green, of the English Community Care Association, said it was vital that the new money was not diverted into other areas.
He said: "Local authorities need to be absolutely clear that this money is not part of their general social services budget, but is an extra amount that must be delivered in its entirety directly to all care homes."