March 10, 2020
Liz’s happy decade as a Shared Lives carer
Our Shared Lives service supports people from many different walks of life who don’t feel ready or able to live on their own. It could be a short stay after hospital whilst they find their feet, a carer supporting someone with a disability for the day or a carer welcoming someone into their home for a longer period – whatever suits the person being supported and the carer. For Liz, who’s a Shared Lives carer in the Midlands, it’s been a fantastic ten years, supporting Michael who is truly part of the family.
Liz remembers how Michael first moved in on a Friday evening. They had sausage and chips from the chip van for tea that night. To this day, this has remained their Friday tradition that Michael fondly calls ‘Liz’s chip stealing night’. Apparently, Liz can’t help herself when she’s dishing them out.
Liz recently sat down with our Midlands team and told the story of her decade of supporting someone who, when he first came to stay with her, had very limited experience and skills and needed constant support. Today Michael has a very busy social life and feels independent enough to get out and about on his own, something he never thought would be possible. Here’s Liz’s story:
Michael came to me with very limited experiences and skills and needed constant support. He always talked about becoming independent as he was ‘becoming a man’. Discussing what he wanted to achieve, I chatted to Michael’s social work team to make his dreams happen. They asked, ‘do you think he is capable?’ My reply was, if Michael believed he could accomplish these tasks then I owed it to him to at least try and help him to achieve them. We took it slowly and broke everything down. I realised that Michael likes routine and sequences and this was the tool I used to support him and continue to use.
Today, Michael has a full, active weekly schedule and social life. He catches the bus independently and books taxis to do the stuff he enjoys most. He has turned into a confident butterfly and has spread his wings far and wide to become a very polite, well-mannered young man. I cannot take all the credit, I was just his assistant, he did all the hard work as I stood in the wings proudly watching.
He has been introduced to a lot of new experiences with Shared Lives like first time flying, going to the theatre, holidays, voluntary work, public speaking and much more. Nothing has fazed him and he has conquered all these challenges head on. Michael enjoys an audience and gets so much joy when he is on stage at talent shows. He was very much overjoyed when he came second in one recently. Give him a microphone and he relishes the opportunity to tell jokes or do some impersonations and make his audience laugh.
He truly has been a trooper and here is to the next decade. I couldn’t be any prouder of him and what he has achieved.