The research reported here aimed to present the stories of care home residents through an interpretative study that was informed by a biographical approach and narrative method. Eight older people who lived in four different care homes in England participated in a sequence of up to eight narrative interviews over a six month period. The findings revealed how the older people tried to live as active biographical agents who were instrumental in shaping their own life in a care home. They were able to do this to a greater or lesser extent through the implementation of a range of resident-led strategies. The understanding of care home life that was developed through this study offers an alternative biography for living in care homes that is not only possible but achievable. This is a biography of frail older people who are active in reconstructing their life following the move to a care home, and living lives that are meaningful, purposeful and enjoyable. This sits in contrast to the standard biography that dominates current understanding of care home life that of older people merely ‘existing’ for the most part of their days. This image provides a vision for long-term care for older people, which is grounded in the views and aspirations of older people.