There’s a great article about the Cowhig family in Liverpool here: Pauline and Dave Cowhig’s started welcoming people into their semi-detached home in Croxteth a little over 30 years ago with PSS. Their three grown-up children all now work in the care industry – David, 42, Sarah, 41 and Emma, 35, are respite carers – while the oldest of their 10 grandchildren, James, 21, is the latest family member to sign up to be a Shared Lives carer.
By opening their home to others, Pauline, 64, and Dave, 63, have provided a first-class education in compassion and caring to their children. Dave says: “All of our kids have a refreshing attitude towards disability and mental health issues, in that they don’t see them. They just see the person.” Pauline adds: “What we do has helped my children and grandchildren to be compassionate and non-judgemental and they have no fear of people who are different.”
Dave recalls one lady they supported for eight years who had lived for decades in an institution: “We had to teach her things like how to turn a light on and off because the lights were permanently on in Rainhill. To help her settle in Pauline at first recreated the feel of her old hospital room, which was very sparse, and then, over time, Pauline gradually introduced more colours – while out went the hard-backed chair, to be replaced by a soft armchair.”
The article is by Paddy Shennan and well worth a read.