Chris lived in residential care before moving to Shared Lives Plus, he currently lives with his carer Alison with the Birmingham Shared Lives Scheme. Whilst living in other residential care, Chris felt he had some independence but other client’s priorities came first. After some meetings with a social worker and an advocate, he discussed the good and bad points of residential accommodation against Shared Lives. After initially worrying about the home environment of living with a couple and the possibility of feeling left out, in his eyes Shared Lives won him over because of the independence it would allow Chris to have in comparison to what he had in residential care.
After visiting a Shared Lives carer twice, the carer decided he was not ready for a permanent placement. Chris was then introduced to and visited Alison, staying with her overnight to see if they were compatible, then a final meeting was set up before he moved in with her. Chris enjoyed walking the dog, he sorted out his bedroom, medication, a bus pass and medical treatments, whilst getting to know Alison’s family and friends. Since joining Shared Lives Chris has taken up Zumba, goes out more regularly, goes on trips, bakes and volunteers.
Chris says, “I am more independent. I go to more places than before, like we just went to Brighton – I couldn’t do that before, there would be a lot more people involved and a lot of planning. Our trip to Rome would have taken much longer to plan, for example, how many staff and clients were going. In residential I couldn’t go out to a club without having to do a risk assessment and care plan. Since I moved in I think we have been on 9 trips. I also stay with Sylvia and Carol for respite, they are Shared Lives carers too.”
“I would say it is more of a family. I do get on with everybody… I would say it is more of a closeness.”