Case Studies – Brenda – Newham Shared Lives
The Shared Lives carers all across the UK are anything but similar. Each story is different and this is just proof that anyone can become a Shared Lives carer! This story follows Shared Lives youngest carer to date who began caring when she was just twenty two years old! Four and a half years later, she has supported two individuals on a long term basis as well as seven on respite.
"I saw a very close friend of the family doing Shared Lives and I thought it was admirable, and as I got to learn more about it, I thought to myself, this definitely something I can do.
The main reason I became a carer is because I have always been the type of person who loves working with people. I love to help and support others, more especially passing on my skills and watching someone grow in confidence, feel empowered and know that they can do things themselves.
I find it amazing that it's possible to make such a difference in someone's life by opening your home, your heart and involving people in our family life.
Kevin (who has a learning disability) has lived with me on a long term basis for almost 4 years - and Luis (who has epilepsy and recovering from a brain tumour) has lived with me for a year and a half. Kevin is now very stable in his routine - and the day activities I put in place are working very well for him. He has gained weight, takes more pride in his appearance, he's more confident and does not hold back when speaking about what he wants and does not want. Luis is more relaxed now, which may be the reason why he has not had a seizure since living here - his understand of English has also improved."
Do you believe Shared Lives a more appropriate option fo those needing support?
"Not necessarily, I think it really does depend on eahc individual and their need. I think every carer in Newham has something different to offer but that still may not suit anyone who is need of support. While I think Shared Lives is amazing, we have to remember that these are people's family homes and may not necessarily suitable to everyone. It's a brilliant option but I'm not sure it's the only one."
How has your life changed after opening your home?
"My life has changed a lot - being the youngest carer, intitially I felt like I would have to sacrifice a lot, but not really. I didn't sign my life away! As long as I get my ‘me time’ every now and then, I can balance my time well enough to still do what I want to do, and the people I support are happy - then life is great!
You cannot put a price on the feeling you get from knowing you are making a huge impact on someone's life."
Thank you to Brenda, Sarah Harvard and the Newham scheme. If you're interested in learning more about Shared Lives in Newham, visit their website:
Newham Shared Lives scheme Website