Shared Lives is a way of providing accommodation, care and support for people aged 18+. It is an alternative to traditional residential care or supported living. It is for people who have additional support needs as a result of a learning disability, mental health issue, autism, needs relating to older age - or any combination of these.
Shared Lives services are provided within the ordinary, family homes of carefully selected, trained and supported Shared Lives carers. Services are flexible and highly personalised, and are available on a short or long-term basis. Shared Lives arrangements are based on what the individual wants and needs to live their life and fulfil their ambitions.
Shared Lives services are run in Devon by Shared Lives South West which was set up in 2004 and used to be known as SWAPS – the South West Adult Placement Scheme. The organisation is a registered charity and is registered with the Care Quality Commission.
We specialise in the provision of Shared Lives services and offer a range of long term, short break and day services.
We are able to support people with a learning disability, mental health needs, older people, people with dementia and parents with a learning disability.
Long term services
The opportunity to live with a Shared Lives carer on a long term basis, to maintain and/or expand independence and choice and enabling people to make full use of their local community. We have over 200 individual Shared Lives households offering long term Shared Lives places.
Regular or one off short breaks that are fun, skills enhancing and enjoyable for the service user and can offer a family carer a much needed respite break ranging from a day time break to long weekends right up to a 28 day stay. Short breaks are also used to enable service users to try out Shared Lives before moving in somewhere on a long term basis. Over 100 of our carers offer short breaks.
Many of our Shared Lives carers can offer day-time support, both within the home of the Shared Lives carer and out and about doing activities in the community.
Shared support and care arrangements
We can offer a service where someone might need accommodation and support for part of the year, for example during school holidays, or where a long handover from a family carer into our service is required.
We can work with agencies to plan a transition into our service for a young person approaching adulthood (from the age of 16) either by assessing and approving their current foster carer as shared lives carers or by finding a new match with one of our carers with experience in supporting young people into independence.