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“I never dreamt of being so independent again”

Steve tells us his story:

“I was living with my partner, running a B&B when I had a serious stroke and later two minor heart attacks.

After four months in hospital, I was depressed, frail and my memory and cognition had deteriorated. We knew I needed more support with daily living than my partner could provide.

“I was unable to return home and it made me frightened about my future, with clinicians uncertain about my further recovery. 

I wanted to live locally, so I could continue seeing my partner and I missed my dogs.

The Shared Lives scheme matched me, with two trained and approved Shared Lives carers who shared my sarcastic sense of humour, had dogs, and lived close by. They helped me through it all.

When I arrived at their home, I never dreamt of being so independent again.

I couldn’t walk down the drive. Now I can nip up to town. My Shared Lives carers helped me gain strength and confidence, walking a little bit further each time, until I could walk independently again.

They helped me adapt to my memory loss with strategies for managing money and banking, and supported me to make meals and manage my diet.

Since then I have booked a holiday and travelled on my own. I am very optimistic about life and planning a move into my own flat.”

The one to one targeted support from his Shared Lives carers had improved his mood, confidence and outlook for the future so much so that moving to his own flat became his main goal to work towards after only three months of support.

Steve’s social worker was really impressed with the outcomes for Steve as a result of Shared Lives and said “this has been such a success story”.

Steve concludes, “Without the Shared Lives scheme I would have undoubtedly spent longer in hospital, had less choice about where I lived, and had a slower recovery. It is so important that money is available to ensure that schemes like this exist.”

Find out more about Shared Lives in health

Read about Meg’s journey to mental health: ‘We need to give more people the chance of happiness like Shared Lives gave me”