My Move to Shared Lives

Chris has very kindly shared his story of moving into a Shared Lives household from residential care. Thanks Chris! Tomorrow, I’ll post Shared Lives carer Alison’s account of the same move. Chris is with the Birmingham Shared Lives Scheme and he writes:

Moving from residential care to Shared Lives

When I lived in residential care I did have independence but other clients came first, I was too independent for them.

When the social worker did my annual review I only needed 23 hours support per day not 24 hours. There was some meetings with the social worker and later an advocate, we talked about good and bad points of residential against Shared Lives. I was worried about moving to a house with just a couple – what if they argued or were too much into each other and I got ignored. But in the end Shared Lives won out as there would be more independent things I could do what I couldn’t do in residential.

First I went to visit a Shared Lives carer twice but at that time he wasn’t ready for a permanent arrangement. Then Andrew who works for Shared Lives told me about Alison, then it was a visit to see if I liked her then a stop overnight. Then a final meeting to set up for moving.  At first I walked the dog sometimes. I sorted out my bedroom, my bus pass, medication and medical treatment. I got to know the area and met Alison’s family and friends.

How is Shared Lives different from residential care?

There are less forms to fill in. I am more independent. I go to more places than before, like we just went to Brighton – I couldn’t do that before, there would be a lot more people involved and a lot of planning. Our trip to Rome would have taken much longer to plan for example how many staff and clients were going. In residential I couldn’t go out to a club without having to do a risk assessment and care plan. Since I moved in I think we have been on 9 trips. I also stay with Sylvia and Carol for respite, they are Shared Lives carers too.

I would say it is more of a family. I do get on with everybody – I get on very good with Pilui (Alison’s husband), I get on with Alison very good, I would say more of a closeness.

In residential I had to take my tablets exactly 8am and 6pm, here I can take them earlier or later if I want. My tablets have also been reduced. In residential I had to have my meals at set times – breakfast at 8 o’clock, tea at 5 o’clock with other residents. Here is different I can eat earlier or later.

In Shared Lives it is a lot easier to get on with people – in residential you have to be careful what you say in case people take it the wrong way or someone kicks off.

How do you feel about Shared Lives?

I feel happy. I feel happy living here. A lot happy. I have independence but also care when I need it. Shared Lives is a very good service, I have met other Shared Lives clients and their carers.

What do you do now that you didn’t do before?

I go to Zumba. I go out more and go on more trips. I do more baking, I do voluntary work at a café. I have Netflix and WWE wrestling network which I couldn’t have before cos Wi-Fi was for staff only. I have helped promote the Shared Lives service, I have been to fetes and been to panel and to carers meetings. I have met a councillor to talk about Shared Lives and I did meet the strategic director from the city council.

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