Shared Lives growing faster than ever

We published our now-annual report on the Shared Lives sector this week. It’s full of exciting news, including that Shared Lives is growing rapidly, with 1,300 more people using Shared Lives and 900 new Shared Lives carers, since the first report. Many more people are now using Shared Lives for day support and short breaks, where they visit their chosen Shared Lives carer rather than living with them. There is a significant number of older people using Shared Lives and we’re really excited about the impact the model can make on current ideas about older people’s support services, which at present too often leave older people isolated and lonely.

The Guardian featured a Shared Lives household in the article about Shared Lives which helped launch the report. The article was very positive and began with the three young women discussing whether to go out that night and being encouraged to ‘go out and have fun’ by their Shared Lives carer, Lorna. The article ended with a comment from Clare who said, “I would be bored and lonely if I had a flat. I have a big focus on food so I would be overweight too. I wouldn’t have enough support or care. I would probably die if I was in a flat.”

This reflects comments from people who use Shared Lives who talked recently to people with learning disabilities working for Your Voice Counts, a user-led organisation which carried out an evaluation of the model. People said things like, “I love everything about my life with my Shared Lives carers, now I feel like I belong to a family” and “When I moved into Shared Lives my Shared Lives carers saved my life, I was depressed and being bullied before I went to live with them. Now I feel so much better.”

There were two sceptical comments Continue reading