Sian Clark, Team Manager for Leicester City Council Shared Lives scheme used our members’ email group to share this lovely story arising from the work the team is doing to grow Shared Lives, including through developing it as a dementia support service . Thanks to Sian for sharing such great work and giving me permission to publish it here. Names have been changed.
Leicester’s first long-term arrangement for an older person who came to them for dementia support, is for Eric who in his 80s and had rented a room from a landlady for many years, during which time they had become good friends. Following Eric’s dementia diagnosis, his friend was providing him with informal care and friendship as well as a place to live. Sadly she was diagnosed with a terminal illness and Eric moved into one of Leicester’s Elderly People’s Homes on a temporary basis while a long term plan was made.
Eric remains physically active and being used to family-based model of care, five weeks ago he moved in with Shared Lives carers Pete and Sam. The three had got to know each other through the Shared Lives matching process, with Pete and Sam visiting Eric at the care home on numerous occasions and Eric visiting their home on several occasions for an overnight stay. Eric now feels very settled and his Shared Lives carers have supported him to visit the dentist for the first time in many years (he now has new teeth!), visit the optician for a new pair of glasses which has improved his mobility, register with a new GP and regain his independence with personal care tasks such as shaving himself again.
Whenever I hear about the health and wellbeing outcomes which Shared Lives carers have been able to achieve – in this case in only five weeks – I can’t help but wonder why they remained unaddressed by other (often more expensive) services.
Sadly Eric’s former landlady died recently but the Shared Lives carers supported him to visit daily during her last week.
Other examples of Shared Lives support in Leicester for older people include an older lady living with dementia who is supported one day a week by a Shared Lives carer, to enable her husband to have a break from his caring role and a long term arrangement for an adult with learning disabilities who is living with dementia.