Carer James helps Carl to live his best life thanks to Shared Lives service

Milton Keynes Council is looking for more Shared Lives carers to support adults with learning disabilities, autism, mental health needs and older people in Milton Keynes. Katy Lelliott caught up with Carl Rome and his lovely carer James Joyce to find out more about the fantastic service…

Sharing your home and community with another person and opening up your lives to each other can be a richly rewarding experience, as Shared Lives carer James Joyce knows all too well.

Milton Keynes Council’s Shared Lives scheme is a service designed to support adults with care and support needs who require additional support with their day-to-day lives.

Shared Lives services are all about one household sharing their lives, family, home, interests, experience and skills with other people who need some help and support to live their lives to the full.

The service is a unique form of social care which is personalised to meet the needs of both the individual and the carer.

The Shared Lives scheme matches someone who needs care with an approved carer. The carer then shares their family and community life and gives care and support to the person. When someone is in need of support to live an enjoyable life, they can visit a Shared Lives carer for the day, overnight stays, or even move in with a Shared Lives carer.

For James, the Shared Lives scheme arrived at just the right time for him and his family. Before becoming a carer, he used to work overnight at a residential care home but, no longer wanting to be away from home, James and his wife decided to provide care for other people through the Shared Lives service.

James said: “Our role is to provide a space for people to come and relax and be a part of our family.” One of the people who James provides care for is Carl Rome, who has nothing but praise for the Shared Lives service.

Carl said: “It’s excellent, it’s like being part of the family.” One of the major benefits of the Shared Lives scheme is how it is flexible around both the carer and the person being cared for.

James explained: “The scheme allows you to be selective about your availability before you are matched with someone so you can ensure it will be sustainable.

“We have built good relationships with both our families, and this allows us to stick to our agreements to suit us all and our changing commitments.”

Carl’s mum Jacqui also noted the difference that being part of Shared Lives has made to her son’s life. She said: “It’s the best thing that has happened to Carl.

“The care that he gets is absolutely brilliant.”

There’s no doubt that Shared Lives is an extremely rewarding service and James says that being part of the scheme has also changed his own life for the better.

He said: “We have noticed that there are benefits in being Shared Lives carers for all of us, it has enriched all of our lives. Hearing the parents and guardians of the people we support telling us that they’re so excited to stay with us means everything.”

If you would like to know more about becoming a Shared Lives carer, or about using the service, please contact Shared Lives MK on 01908 258088, email sharedlivesmk@miltonkeynes.gov.uk or visit the website http://www.milton-keynes. gov.uk/sharedlives

Why Do it?
•It’s rewarding for both the disabled person and the carer
•It gives their regular carer some time off
•You’ll be paid for your time
•You can earn up to £10k tax free as a SL carer
•You can give as much of your time as you like Why do it?

CONTACT SHARED LIVES AT MILTON KEYNES COUNCIL
Telephone: 01908 258088
Email: sharedlivesmk@milton-keynes.gov.uk
Website: milton-keynes.gov.uk/sharedlives

This feature was published in the August 2019 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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