Carers share their experience for Shared Lives week
An inspirational army of Shared Lives carers from Herefordshire are celebrating their role in helping people across the county who need extra support to live ordinary lives.
Shared Lives week 2018 takes place Friday 15 - Sunday 24 June, and carers from the county will share their experience on Facebook through a series of video shorts.
As part of Shared Lives week, Herefordshire Council will host a drop in event at Blueschool House on Wednesday 20 June from 9.30am - 4pm. ‘Empty nesters’, careers changers, ex-carers or those looking for a rewarding challenge on top of their day job can find out more about how to become a Shared Lives carer.
Martha and Reuben Fosberry are Shared Lives carers in Herefordshire, and they find no two days are the same:
"We love being Shared Lives carers - it is a rewarding way to give a person who needs a little extra help the chance to access this support in a normal, everyday way. The individual who comes to live with you shares in your family's life and the daily rhythm of your home. This could mean something as simple as a hot meal together, popping to the supermarket, watching TV, gardening or warm company and a friendly ear. Outside of Shared Lives, this form of care would usually come in the shape of day services or residential care. We cannot recommend it enough!"
In Herefordshire, over 70 people who need support to lead safe, healthy and independent lives visit or live with around 50 approved Shared Lives carer households. They share family and community life together, enabling people who need support to stay in the area, make new friends and recover from hospital to live an ordinary life, instead of being in a care home.
Councillor Paul Rone, Herefordshire Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“Shared Lives carers are invaluable. They provide practical and emotional support to people who need a bit more help to live independently, and who wish to stay in their own community. Carers provide ordinary, stable homes where they can share their lifestyles and interests with each other. Our Shared Lives carers in Herefordshire help people become independent and more connected with friends and family, as well as remaining active members of their community.”
Shared Lives in Herefordshire
Shared Lives is designed to support adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems, or other needs that make it harder for them to live on their own. The scheme matches an adult who has care needs with an approved Shared Lives carer. These carers share their family and community life, and give care and support to the adult with care needs. Here are some of their stories:
Sadie, Lloyd and Brian
Shared Lives stories: Sadie, Lloyd and Brian
Sadie, Lloyd and Brian live with Beryl, who is the second generation to support them over the last 40 years. Sadie and Lloyd have been married for 35 years. They enjoy walking Gemma the dog, shopping in Abergavenny, living as part of the family, the vegetable patch, choosing what to eat and where to go on holiday.
Shared Lives stories: Becky
Becky says "Before I lived with my shared lives family, I was in foster care. It is a really nice place to live and they help me live independently."
Shared Lives stories: Liz
Liz lives with Helen and Dave who are third generation shared lives carers. Liz says "It's wonderful, fantastic, because Helen is a loving person and Dave is nice - he cooks breakfast on Saturdays!"
Shared Lives stories: Richard
Richard has lived with his shared lives family for 11 years. He used to live in a support housing scheme but people took advantage of his good nature. Richard says "I like shared lives because my carer is there when I need him. I can go wherever I want to and enjoy myself."
Shared Lives stories: Sarah
Sarah has lived with Lesley and Mark for four years. Her life was not a happy one, but this has changed and she is thriving now. She loves lambing, outward bound activities, horse riding and holidays with her extended family.
Shared Lives stories: Robert
Robert moved in with his shared lives family 13 years ago, after living with his girlfriend didn't work out. Things are much better now and, with support, he sees her nearly every day. Robert says: "If I didn't live with my shared lives carer, I wouldn't be able to do half of the things that I do."