February 18, 2020
Katie’s our Shared Lives hero
Katie moved in with her new Shared Lives carer, Christine, a year ago. When Katie first moved in with Christine she was very shy. Christine has worked hard with Katie to make her feel more settled, gain lots of confidence and learn so many new skills. That’s what Shared Lives is all about, supporting someone to grow whilst they live in your home or spend their days with you. This could be somebody with a learning disability, someone with mental health needs, a young adult who has recently left the formal social care system, a new parent finding their feet, somebody leaving hospital, the list goes on. Some people compare it to fostering but the big difference is that it’s for adults, adults who want their own choice, freedom and independence but may not feel ready to live on their own.
One of Katie’s biggest goals was to be able to go out with her boyfriend or friends without being accompanied by Christine or her support worker. Christine has supported Katie with this along with an occupational health team and staff from our PSS Community Support service which Katie also accesses. They gave Katie advice about how to keep safe and feel confident on her own and got her a new phone with photos on there that could help her if she did need support. After walking through everything together, Katie got to the point where she felt able to go out with her boyfriend or friends for a couple of hours on her own and everyone agreed that she should go for her goal.
Katie loves going out with her boyfriend at the weekend, they go to town for a good shop or they go to the park for a stroll and have their tea together. One Sunday, Katie and Dan went to town for the day. While out, Dan experienced a seizure. Katie managed to ask someone for help and explained what was happening. A shop assistant called an ambulance and got Dan into the recovery position whilst Katie called Christine for help.
Katie was a little bit shaken by it all but remained calm, listened and followed instructions from Christine. The shop assistant waited with Katie until the paramedics came and when Christine arrived it was agreed that the best course of action was for Katie to go in the ambulance with Dan and the paramedics. Christine followed them in her car. Katie sat alongside Dan, reassuring him whilst he was waiting to be treated and managed to contact the people he lives with to explain everything that was going on. Dan was able to leave hospital a few days later. The Community Support team and Christine are so proud of Katie. She was able to remain calm and make sure that Dan was well looked after. She showed such fantastic strength and confidence during a traumatic situation showing just how capable she is.
If you’d like to support someone like Katie to lead their life their way, visit: makeyourself.org.uk