An inspirational army of Shared Lives carers from schemes across the UK including Northern Ireland are celebrating their role in helping thousands of people who need extra support to live ordinary lives.
Shared Lives Plus Week 2018 runs from 15th – 24th June and aims to raise awareness of how the schemes transform people’s lives.
Approved Shared Lives carers can provide day, short breaks and longer-term support arrangements in their own homes as an alternative to institutional settings. This offers vital community based short break/respite support for a range of vulnerable adults and their family carers. Currently in Northern Ireland, Shared Lives supports adults with a learning disability.
The need for flexible and personal support is set to increase as more than 15 million people in the UK have at least one long-term condition and 3 million people have three or more health conditions that require social care support. In Northern Ireland, the number of older people aged 65 or older is set to increase by 25% for the period 2016-26.
Liz Palmer, Service Manager with Positive Futures Families Matter Shared Lives Service says “Shared Lives carers are invaluable: they provide people, with practical and emotional support in an ordinary, stable home where they can share their lifestyles and interests with each other. We see every day how Shared Lives carers help people become independent and more connected with friends, family and the wider community.”
Stephanie Kenny, Shared Lives Carer says, “You don’t have to be a health or social care professional to do the job. It’s more about an openness to sharing your life and seeing someone develop and grow as a person. It’s definitely not 9-5! But the joy of seeing someone do something for the first time and become confident makes it more than worthwhile.”
Alex Fox, CEO, Shared Lives Plus, says, “We want to take this week to thank every Shared Lives carer, and the local schemes that carefully match people together. You make an invaluable difference for people using our health and social care services.
“Shared Lives carers create outcomes in mental and physical health that are proportionally greater than the resources they require. Across the UK, we are calling on Health Trusts and government to invest in Shared Lives carers to enable more people to enjoy Shared Lives and eventually create a social care system that is more effective and human. I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t met someone who visits or lives with a Shared Lives carer to do so – it’s refreshing!”
To find out more about being a Shared Lives carer with Positive Futures please ring Liz Palmer at Positive Futures on 02890 741271 or call the charity’s head office on 028 9147 5720.