Shared Lives Stoke-on-Trent is calling for more residents to come forward to provide short breaks and long-term placements in their own home to adults with learning disabilities.
The Stoke-on-Trent City Council scheme carefully matches people needing to access the service to an approved Shared Lives carer, after getting to know each other the person will go and stay with the Shared Lives carer which could vary from one night to a couple of weeks or on a long-term basis,
This support can enable families to have a well-earned break from their caring role and or it can enable a person to remain living within family-based setting. This ensures the person is able to experience new things, continue with hobbies, interests, education, work placements, social activities and importantly remain within a family-based support setting.
Over the last year,15 adults with a learning disability from Stoke-on-Trent have been supported by a Shared Lives carers. Some were on a long-term basis and others were for short breaks, and in the last 12 months Shared Lives Stoke-on-Trent has approved 3 new Shared Lives carers.
Councillor Sarah Hill, cabinet member for adult services, said:
“People who come to Shared Lives become part of the family and get involved with daily routine tasks, which develops their independence.
“The Shared Lives team carries out a thorough assessment with potential Shared Lives Carers to make sure they are right for the scheme and that they have the right values, behaviours and skills by drawing from their life experiences. Ongoing training and support is provided to Shared Lives Carers as well as visits to check those accessing the service are happy and receiving a good quality service that is meeting their needs.
Rosie, who has been a Shared Lives carer for 4 years, said:
“I’ve been a Shared Lives carer for 4 years now, finding the scheme through friends based in the Midlands.
“We received training from the Shared Lives team, who supported us from the beginning.
“As a couple one of us initially carried on working full time whilst the other took on a more involved role. We have had a few people over the years. Our experience is very much a positive one. The people have varying degrees of Autism/Learning Disabilities. This is sometimes a little challenging but incredibly rewarding.
“We try to work with people to learn day to day activities on a regular basis. This could be showing them how to cook simple meals to ordering their prescriptions themselves from the doctors. We are there to guide and enable people to the point that hopefully they may be able to live independently in the future.
“Being a Shared Lives carer brings us such joy and its so gratifying to help service users grow and find a new confidence.
“As carers we encourage and empower people to tackle any issues that they face. We work as a team and consider people who used our service as important members of our family. We laugh constantly as a household and we can honestly say this is the best ‘job’ either of us have ever had! We wake up smiling.”
To find out more about becoming a shared lives carer contact the shared lives team on: 01782 235000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.