Celebrations mark Shared Lives Week
Celebrations to mark Shared Lives Week in Shropshire highlighted how the scheme has been supporting vulnerable adults to enjoy community and family life for 20 years.
Shared Lives – formerly known as the Adult Placement Service – is home-based care for adults with learning disabilities, mental health needs, physical disabilities, older people, and people recovering after hospital treatment. Families or individuals welcome a person or people into their home, providing guidance, support and help as required.
Many of the 100 adults in Shropshire supported by the scheme, and their carers, celebrated national Shared Lives Week, which took place from 13 October 2012 to 21 October 2012, with an Olympic-nic and a disco.
The Olympic-nic took place in the run-up to the week in Llanwydden. The disco was held on 16 October in Oswestry with the scheme’s very own DJ, who has lived with Shared Lives carers for nearly 20 years, volunteering to take to the decks.
The week also took place to encourage more people to step forward to apply to be Shared Lives carers. In particular, the team is developing day support opportunities, so would like to hear from people who can support up to three people at a time to enjoy activities such as walking, cooking, gardening and shopping, using their own home as a base. The team will endeavour to match service users’ skills and interests to those of the carer.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for disability, said:
“The service has been helping individuals in the county to develop independence and confidence through learning new skills, managing daily tasks, participating within their community, sharing family life and experiencing life in a different household, for 20 years.
“Shared Lives Week provided an opportunity to tell the world about the difference the scheme makes to people’s lives and the potential for more people to benefit from Shared Lives.”
Ann Hartley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health and well-being, said:
“In a recent report the scheme was given the highest rating possible by inspectors who praised the way it offers ‘good support’ which has ‘improved the quality of people’s lives’.
“Shared Lives carers are from all walks of life and can be single people, couples or families with children. If you think you could be a Shared Lives carer, please get in touch and you could soon be supporting people to live full lives as independent and active members of their communities.”
While previous experience of supporting people in any field is desirable, it is not essential, as new carers will be given the support and training necessary to carry out the role. The most important qualities and characteristics that a Shared Lives carer should have is a patient, positive and friendly approach; a safe and welcoming home with at least one spare bedroom; be able to offer a stable supportive environment; and have the motivation and commitment to develop a long-term caring relationship. Carers share their home on a long-term or short-term basis, depending on the support required.
Shared Lives carers are self employed, with payment varying depending on the number of people supported, their individual needs and how much time the carer can offer to the service. The amount is agreed before the start of any placement. There are special tax rules for some Shared Lives carers, and an amount of what they earn is exempt from tax.