The government is using face-transforming software to encourage the public to have their say on its proposals for a radical reform of the care system.

The Big Care Debate Face of Care is harnessing online software that allows people to ‘age’ a photograph of themselves and generate an image of what they might look like in old age.

People using the online software application will be encouraged to comment on the government’s plans for a National Care Service and other changes to the care system.

These include changes to the way that services are funded. Three options have been put forward; costs sharing between the person receiving care and the government, an insurance-based approach for some care or a comprehensive state insurance scheme.

The DH said it hoped the snapshot technology would be a fun but frank way to look at what might be in store for people as they get older.

Health secretary Andy Burnham said: “At the moment, there’s a big gap between people’s aspirations and what is affordable under the current care and support system. That’s why we’re changing care and support and we want to get people’s views on how the system needs to change.”

The DH has also published research on what the next generation of pensioners plan to do in their retirement.

It found that 80% of those questioned expect to be checking their emails daily when they are 70 years old, 33% expect to have the latest technology such as a 3-G phone, and 24% expect to be putting the latest music downloads on their MP3 players.

The Big Care Debate runs until 13 November and includes a series of road shows around the country.