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Real Shared Lives: Zack goes to prom

Determination isn’t just a PSS value, it’s a quality seen in our carers and the people we support day in and day out. It’s the thing that pushes us out of our comfort zones and leads us to achieve things we never thought possible.  

Zack, 19, from Lincolnshire, is one of those determined people. When Zack moved in with his Shared Lives carers his confidence was low. It was so low he’d never taken public transport on his own. He wouldn’t dream of attending an event solo. Social interactions were a struggle. 

Unlocking Zack’s potential  

Only seven months after moving in with his Shared Lives carer,  Zack was suiting up to attend his college prom (and doesn’t he look dapper!). He’s even bagged a part-time placement at the local hospital. He helps with everything from porter and cleaning duties to administration. And to top it all off he plans and pays for his own train journeys, travelling alone without a hitch. It’s beyond what Zack thought he was capable of but it’s common to see such a transformation from people who use Shared Lives. 

Zack, 19, is in a black suit and tie, looking excited to attend his prom. he has short hair, is white, and slim and wears glasses

What is Shared Lives?  

Shared Lives is a little bit like fostering, but it’s for adults who want to live as independently as possible. 

But what is it that makes Shared Lives such an effective form of care compared to others? Well: 

  • It’s the most personalised form of care you can get. 
  • It’s rated the safest and best form of care by big-time regulators, the CQC. 
  • It’s in the heart of our communities, and in the homes of the carers.  

Shared Lives carers are nurturing people who treat the people they support as if they were family: going on holidays together, enjoying weekend activities together, and fighting over the tv remote in the evenings. Our carers aren’t PSS staff, but self-employed. Those who live with Shared Lives carers aren’t our ‘service users’, they’re the people we support. There’s no 15-minute phone calls three times a day, but there is loads of support whenever our carers need it. It’s not a job. It’s a way of life.  

Anyone can be a Shared Lives carer  

Shared Lives carers are your neighbours, your friends, even your colleagues. It doesn’t have to be your only job. It could be you, if you’ve got a spare room and a big heart. 

Nursing the NHS back to health  

The UK government wants to widen the amount of choice in a one-size-fits-all health and care system. As an ageing population, people’s needs and expectations are becoming more complex. healthcare is becoming more expensive. Shared Lives is a cheaper (up to £30k a year per person), safer and more personalised form of care. Could it be the thing that nurses the NHS back to better financial health?  

Let’s find out together.