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Older people

More of us in the UK are living for longer than ever before, and more of us might need some support to enjoy living at home for longer.

Shared Lives supports thousands of older people – and the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund is funding us this year to promote Shared Lives in rural areas so more older people can enjoy visiting or living with a Shared Lives carer, sharing interests, a helping hand and company in the place you and your carer both love.

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Reaching older people in rural areas

When your village or town is only small, it can be more difficult to get support you need to stay independent. Shared Lives schemes are working with older people in isolated areas to so that you can keep doing the things you love, in the place you love!

There are 150 Shared Lives schemes serving nearly every area of the UK who support older people. Our project funded by the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund this year is demonstrating that six Shared Lives schemes can support isolated older people and their families, become a significant part of a local care economy, deliver better support, meaningful paid work and benefits to older people and the wider community.

Want to take part? Contact:

Aberdeenshire Shared Lives

South West Shared Lives

Derbyshire Shared Lives

The Richmond Fellowship – Perth and Kinross

Positive Steps Shropshire

Nottinghamshire Shared Lives

Please get in touch with a scheme near you if you would like to find out more about enjoying daily tasks or days out with a Shared Lives carer or becoming a carer.

These organisations will form part of a community of practice and share their learning with everyone involved with our membership network across the UK so that more older people can stay in their communities. To find out more, ask Alice Williams at

You can see the wonderful film we made for the project in beautiful rural Aberdeenshire here:

“When Doug is out with Brandon it gives me peace of mind, a chance to catch up with household jobs and to stop and think. I have seen an improvement in Doug and I’m able to leave him for short periods of time in the day, without him becoming too anxious. I really wouldn’t want to be without Shared Lives.”

- Iris, Doug's wife

Shared Lives can help people with dementia live better lives and remain in their own homes for longer. Shared Lives carers are proven to provide crucial support not only to people living with dementia – but to their families too, particularly family carers. They are proven to reduce social isolation and the chance of breakdown for those carers and help increase their general wellbeing significantly.

People suffering from dementia experience increased independence, wellbeing and personal choice, and are less likely to experience isolation and confusion in when they have got to know their Shared Lives carer and maintain existing relationships and connections in the community.

The proportion of older people is likely to increase still further and increasing numbers of people are also living with complex conditions. One in six people over the age of 80 have dementia, and there are 850,000 people with dementia in total, which will rise to a million in just over five years.

Useful facts from Alzheimers Society

Independent review of Shared Lives for dementia