October 20, 2023
Converted care home becomes Shared Lives haven
Newcastle-Under-Lyme MP, Aaron Bell, paid a special visit to the home of PSS Shared Lives carer, and former St Marks’ church vicar, Sally Smith. Now, she lives in a converted care home supporting people like Paul through an innovative form of adult social care called Shared Lives.
The visit took place with the aim of raising awareness about Shared Lives as a form of adult social care that improves the lives of local people every year. As a more affordable option, it’s also saving local authorities thousands of pounds every year.
Care in the heart of our communities
Shared Lives is often likened to fostering but designed for adults looking for maximum independence. PSS Shared Lives matches specially trained carers with someone who needs support, and they all live together in the carer’s family home.
Sally led the congregation at St Mark’s church in Shelton while founding Sanctus St Mark’s, a support group for refugees and asylum seekers in Shelton and Longton, Stoke on Trent. She also fosters and manages an organisation that provides supported living for 16 and 17-year-olds. Sally said: ‘I think Shared Lives is a good way to live. People thrive and flourish under the shelter of other people and then you form relationships and I think what I lack in my life, character and abilities, somebody else can make up for and I can do the same for them.’
Although Sally has some previous experience with health and social care roles, you don’t need any qualifications or experience to become a PSS Shared Lives carer, just a spare room and big heart.
Aaron Bell, who has been MP for Newcastle-Under-Lyme since 2019, shared his reflections about the PSS Shared Lives scheme with his Facebook followers in a post that said: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Paul, Sally, and Leslie Dixon, the CEO, to hear more about their model of care, the positive effect that it has for carers, and those whom they look after. We discussed several topics, ranging from Sally and Paul’s lives together, the history of the scheme, Paul’s love for Stoke City, and all about his retirement party at Morrison’s, where he used to work.’
Shared Lives is gaining recognition for being both a cost-effective and extremely safe form of social care, consistently earning high ratings from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
CEO Lesley Dixon of PSS expressed her hope that more MPs will take an interest in Shared Lives as a means of enhancing the wellbeing of individuals in need of care and support. Lesley said: ‘We’re thrilled to have Aaron Bell here to witness the incredible impact of Shared Lives firsthand. This visit highlights the power of compassion, connection, and community in transforming lives. We hope it encourages more individuals and policymakers to recognise Shared Lives as a leading option in social care.’
This visit coincides with its inclusion in the Government’s policy paper, Adult social care system reform: next steps to put People at the Heart of Care. The paper states: ‘Shared Lives schemes have been scaled up across the country to offer greater flexibility and more community-based care. Embedding innovative approaches to delivering care can ensure that care is more personalised, supports individuals to live more independently for longer, and can adjust to the needs of future populations.’
Shared Lives making big savings for social care
An independent review conducted on the Shared Lives model has revealed compelling evidence of its potential financial benefits. The study found that Shared Lives has the capacity to yield substantial savings, ranging from £8,000 to £30,000 per person with a learning disability annually, contingent upon the level of care provided. These findings highlight the cost-effectiveness of Shared Lives in comparison to traditional care models, like supported living or reinforcing the urgency of exploring and investing in innovative approaches.
To find out more about Shared Lives care or to enquire about becoming a carer go to: www.sharedlivescarers.com
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