Surrey caring scheme is ‘like fostering for adults’

Could you be a Shared Lives carer?

Shannon had a difficult time growing up and as a young adult she didn't feel settled. With no family around her, Shannon, who has a mild learning disability and can experience depression, lacked confidence and independence in daily tasks.

But Shared Lives changed everything for Shannon. The scheme is a way of supporting people with a learning disability, autism, physical disability, mental health needs, dementia or other care need to live as part of a household in a family home. It's similar to fostering but for adults in need of support.

For more information on the Shared Lives programme visit the Learning Disability and Autism Hub website.

From the moment Shannon moved in with Kuldip, her Shared Lives carer, things started looking up.

Shannon said: "I live in a house with Kuldip and it's a very nice place to actually live because she actually made me feel welcome, like the first day when I moved in, and she's actually helped me through a lot of stuff."

She added: "Since I've actually been here, my mental health got better. It's a very good place to live in."

A place to call home

For Shannon, and many others, Shared Lives is a long-term place to call home but it can also be used in other ways for short breaks to give family carers a break from their caring responsibilities, for regular days per week and as a stepping stone for an individual to move into their own home.

As an alternative to traditional residential care, Shared Lives helps to link individuals to their local communities and develop life skills in a supportive, safe environment.

Kuldip said: "When I see the difference, you feel good and when she's feeling good and looking happy, and you can see the little changes, that just makes it all worthwhile."

Visit the Learning Disability and Autism Hub website to find out more about the Shared Lives scheme and see an animation showing how it works to enable people to lead fulfilling and active lives. You can also visit the Surrey Choices website.

If you're interested in becoming a Shared Lives carer, or you know someone who might benefit from Shared Lives, contact us on or by SMS on 07929 863582.

Watch the animation below for more information about the Shared Lives programme.

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