County Council Launches Search for Shared Lives carers

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

As part of celebrating national Shared Lives Week, Lancashire County Council is looking for carers who could make a real difference to the lives of people who need support or have a disability.

The Shared Lives concept is similar to foster care for adults. Carers may need to support people with aspects of their lives such as personal care, eating healthily and taking medication.

The idea is that people who are being supported are able to share in family and community life by living in the carer's own home.

The service is looking to expand the 274 active Shared Lives carers across the county who already support 208 people in long-term placements.

“Matching” the carer and the person needing support is at the heart of the Shared Lives service and is what makes it so special and different from many other forms of care and support – the strength and depths of the relationships that are developed.

55 year old Philip Wilcock is supported by Shared Lives carers in Morecambe.

"Last year was a bad year for me when both my parents sadly passed away. I had lived with them for all fifty-five years of my life and had led a quiet life. Now I live with my Shared Lives carers Mark and Angela in Morecambe. It makes me happy being part of a family. I also have made lots of friends and I am always out and about. I feel very positive about my life since I have been supported by Shared Lives."

County Councillor Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: "People who have become Shared Lives carers find it very rewarding.

"Our carers come from all types of backgrounds. If you have plenty of patience, flexibility, dedication, commitment and a spare room for the person you support to live in, you can become a Shared Lives carer."

"You can be a carer whether you rent or own your own home and you don't need to have any formal qualifications. If you are suitable, you'll be given all the training and support you need by our Shared Lives team."

"People you support could come from any background and of course everyone is different. Some people in Shared Lives will require support and guidance whilst others will require more direct support with daily tasks such as cooking, laundry and handling money. Some people may need support washing and dressing too. People may also need support when visiting their local community - shops, libraries and cinemas."

"What is important is making a match between the person needing support and the Shared Lives carer. Our Shared Lives team works hard to identify areas like shared interests, pets, hobbies and places that will help build a bond and rapport.

"Research has shown that carers feel very positive and get a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction about the work they do."

"They also get a monthly financial allowance, based on the needs of the person they are caring for."

"Shared Lives has been a huge success nationally and people being supported have said they feel more settled, valued and make friends more easily than with traditional types of care."

Lancashire supports 9% of the total number of adults with learning disabilities receiving support from Shared Lives across the country.

County Councillor Martin added:

"There is no doubt that Shared Lives provides the best type of support for many adults' needs."

"We want to make the service available to more people and you could help us by becoming a Shared Lives carer."

Shared Lives supports people who may have a physical or learning disability, be an older person, recovering from substance misuse, have mental health issues or dementia, or who is not able to live on their own or with their family.

To find out more about Lancashire County Council's Shared Lives scheme, call 01257 516036 or visit the county council's Shared Lives service webpage

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Tagged as: Health and Social Care


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