Where is home and what does it mean to you? It can be a physical building but for many of us it is a feeling, a place, a smell or a view. The people who know you, being a ‘regular’, stopping for a chat, a beaten track and reassuring landmarks. When you’ve lived somewhere all your life and these things are part of your routine it can be hard to think how you might live without them.
In Shared Lives, some one that has developed care needs can visit, or move in long-term with, a local Shared Lives carer. Shared Lives carers are fully trained and approved and provide care in their own home – no institutions, no wards or blank walls. A Shared Lives household is a home from home, complete with pets, family and friends. Shared Lives carers are matched with people based on compatibility, where they live and what they can offer – so the support is completely personal and tailored to the individual. It is also rated as the highest quality and safest form of care by the CQC.
In 2019 they received funding from the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation and worked with Shared Lives schemes to explore how they could meet the needs of older people living in rural and isolated parts of the country. The project, which covered parts of Cornwall and Devon, Shropshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Perthshire and Aberdeenshire set out to discover what older people in these areas wanted from services, what provision already existed and how Shared Lives could offer support.
During the project, the schemes assessed and approved 20 new Shared Lives carers to support people locally. The project forged new partnerships between Shared Lives schemes and local services which have great potential for future referrals into Shared Lives and for flexible, holistic support for older people to stay in their communities. The partners in the project continue to look at ways they can reach more people who can benefit from Shared Lives care and support.