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  1. ITV Report

Shared Lives: making a difference

Jayne Sommersby with Rachel Tull Photo:

A new scheme which pays families to provide long-term or respite care to elderly people or adults with learning disabilities is looking for more members.

It's called Shared Lives and there are great benefits to all who take part.

Watch Clare McGlasson's report:

If you want to learn more about how to become a Shared Lives carer, click here

Background on how Shared Lives works:

In Shared Lives, an adult who needs care and support moves in with, or regularly visits an approved Shared Lives carer. Together they share home, family and community life.The outcomes can be startling, with people reporting feeling settled, valued and like they belong for the first time in their lives.They make friends and get involved in clubs, activities and volunteering, all of which strengthens their relationships and our communities.Shared Lives carers are recruited by their local CQC-registered Shared Lives scheme and put through a rigorous 3 – 6 month approval process, before being carefully matched with an adult who needs support. Shared Lives is used by a people with a wide range of long-term support needs including learning disabilities, mental health problems, physical or sensory impairments. Some are older people with dementia, who typically use Shared Lives instead of visiting a care home when their family needs a break from caring. Some, such as care leavers and young disabled adults, learn independent living skills and put down roots in the community, to enable them to move into their own place without becoming isolated. Home from hospital care is a recent but promising development which has Dept Health funding

In the UK

Half of the14,000 people using Shared Lives move in with their Shared Lives carer to live as part of their household; half visit for day support or overnight breaks.

There are nearly 10,000 Shared Lives carers. They are all approved following rigorous recruitment and training by one of the UK’s 150 regulated local schemes.

The Care Quality Commission rates Shared Lives as 92% good or excellent: better than all other forms of social care.