What Shared Lives is

The scheme is available for adults with additional support needs, for example a learning disability, mental health problems and dementia. Shared Lives carers also support older people and are available to assist adults following a stay in hospital but are not quite ready to return home. It could be anyone age 16 and over with needs that make life harder for them to live on their own.

Registered Shared Lives carers open their home and offer long term care, short breaks/respite care, day support (Shared Days) or emergency care - helping people on their journey to achieving more independent and fulfilling lives.

Shared Lives Plus say: 'Shared living can help tackle loneliness, reduce isolation, help people recover after hospital treatment or mental ill health. Shared Lives is consistently rated the safest and best form of social care - and we're here to make it an option for everyone.'

Group of Shared Lives users

Types of care we offer

Long term care

  • This is where a person needing support would live with a carer in their home and be a part of the family environment on a longer term basis. This maybe a step towards living more independently or it may be an alternative to long term residential care. Our Shared Lives carers need to be able to offer a supportive, safe and welcoming home with a least one spare bedroom.

Short breaks

  • For people who need occasional or regular breaks which include some care and support in a home-from-home setting. This could be anything from one night to a couple of weeks in order to give full time carers a much-needed break. It could be a day-time break, a long weekend or can be up to a 28 day stay. Many of our carers try this first as a 'taster' of long term care.

Shared days (day support service)

  • Open to anyone who needs care and support during the day. Day support is delivered by registered Shared Lives carers using their home as a base. Carers can support service users on a one to one basis or set up a 'friendship group' offering support for up to 3 service users for one session. A friendship group may include setting up social activities and using your home as a base. Carers are expected to offer a minimum of one 4-hour session per week which could be during the day, on an evening or at the weekend

Emergency support

  • A carer will offer emergency support at short notice. This maybe for a few hours or could include overnight stays, as such you will need to be able to offer a spare room.
Man and woman sat down on seats Man in garden doing gardening

Who can use Shared Lives

Shared Lives is a scheme that is used by lots of different people with various support needs. Our service users come from all over Kirklees and maybe living with learning disabilities, experiencing mental health problems, dementia, older people, care leavers, people who misuse substances and hospital leavers. We also offer support for people transitioning from children's to adult services.

An adult can join Shared Lives instead of going into a care home or having a home carer. Often, people turn to Shared Lives to help them learn the skills they need to live more independently, become part of a community and sometimes they move in to a place of their own.

Shared Lives user with a Shared Lives carer

Group of Shared Lives users with a Shared Lives carer

Why choose Shared Lives

An adult can join Shared Lives as an alternative to going into a care home, day services or having a home carer. People choose Shared Lives for many different reasons, it could be to help them learn the skills they need to live more independently, become part of a community, make friends, have more one to one support. If it's the right support, Shared Lives can often be a financially cheaper care option for many service users.

Meet service user Sonia

Shared Lives service user Sonia lives with carer Amelia. Sonia has a learning disability and was referred to Shared Lives by her social worker following the breakdown of her marriage. The team at Kirklees Council matched Sonia to her carer Amelia who has an out-going personality - the perfect match to motivate Sonia. Following inital meetings between carer and service user, and the odd over-night stay, Sonia and Amelia decided to make the arrangement permanent.

When Sonia moved in, it was already apparent to the Shared Lives Officer and Amelia that she lacked structure and routine, was very withdrawn, had little interest in taking part in activities and was suffering from other health issues due to being overweight.

As her carer, Amelia, with the Shared Lives Officer, developed guidelines to improve Sonia's health and well-being and in turn the two women went to a number of local fitness classes, went for walks and changed their diets. Amelia also helped Sonia apply for a course at Kirklees College and get involved in the local community and support groups.

Since the placement, Sonia's life has changed dramatically. She has lost weight, reduced her medication, made a new network of friends, attends collage and is a member of several clubs and societies in the local area.