Shared Lives extends the natural way to connect

I was privileged to be part of our reception in the Scottish parliament.  What Holyrood lacks in history it more than makes up for by being such a welcoming, open and inspiring place, which truly feels like it belongs to Scotland’s people, especially as our host Richard Lochhead MSP was kind enough as he always is to take our members on a tour of the chamber.

We heard from people who live in Shared Lives households who talked about the transformative effects of their relationships. As Louise Kennedy said of Abby coming to live with her and her husband, “Something clicked straight away and the three of us have never look back. I’m not going to pretend that we’re the Waltons, we’re three strong personalisites sharing a home and f course there are going to  be bumps along the way, but these are part of family life and we’re very much a family. Abby is unique, and meeting her is a once in a lifetime experience…to know her is to love her.”

We launched a new report: Staying connected – Shared Lives carers supporting people living with dementia in Moray, Scotland 2019 The quotes from people involved in dementia support and Shared Lives say it all:

  • ‘Loneliness is a terrible thing. Shared Lives extends the natural way to connect’
  • ‘My husband goes out twice a week, with Shared Lives. He also goes to a day centre. The carers in both services are great, but the Shared Lives service is better because he’s getting out and about, going places that he wants to. It’s more stimulating.’
  • ‘I know I’m doing a good job when I see the look on people’s face when I arrive to pick them up. I know some women who have started wearing lipstick again, thinking about what they’ll wear, since they’ve been coming out with me. Before, they’d lost sight of themselves.’

We all need to feel seen, not just for what we need, but for who we are. This only happens when people can get out of their own homes or care services and into the outside world, but even that isn’t enough on its own. After years of stagnation, Shared Lives is now growing in Scotland: let’s make sure that everyone in Scotland who needs support feels really seen again.

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