Shared Lives Plus
Shared Lives Plus is the UK network for family-based and small-scale ways of supporting adults. Our members are Shared Lives carers and schemes and Homeshare programmes. We help members to work together to survive, thrive and influence decision makers, providing support, training, events, resources, access to insurance, research and campaigning
- 9 March 2016
- Communication, Care, Membership Organisations, Health
1. Action Plan
1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?
The National Dementia Declaration lists a number of outcomes that we are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisations role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers? Shared Lives Plus is the UK network for family-based and small-scale ways of supporting adults to live independently and to contribute to their families and communities. Our members are Shared Lives carers and workers,and Homeshare programmes. Our member, services and enterprises have a focus on helping people to live in and contribute to the family and community of their choice, with a strong sense of belonging. Our work can be used as a route to support and inclusion for people with dementia and their families. Our main objectives in relation to dementia are to support our members to develop more Shared Lives provision for people with dementia and to promote and widen awareness of our members and services as an option for people with dementia and their families. We will pursue funding for a major project to move Shared Lives from being a well-developed option in only some areas to being a mainstream part of the social care offer in most areas of the UK. We will work with research partners to find out what works for older people using Shared Lives and how to better tailor Shared Lives to their needs, especially those living with dementia. We will also work with our members, to develop resources, training and the evidence base for the use of our members services with people with dementia and their families, ensuring that development of our members approaches for working with this group is tailored to their needs. We will ensure that learning from all of this work is disseminated widely and informs the work of policy makers. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation? The development of Shared Lives and other Shared Lives Plus member services for people with dementia and their families is geographically patchy and we have limited resources at our disposal to spread learning and develop evidence about what works for whom. There is currently little research. Awareness of the availability of our members services is still very low, particularly amongst people with dementia and their families but also amongst commissioners and care managers. Service managers and workers and individual Shared Lives carers need support and training in order to develop their understanding of dementia and their skills in working with people with dementia.
2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
The need for inward investment, especially into local authority Shared Lives schemes at a time of austerity, is a major challenge for the sector. There is much uncertainty around for a number of schemes and this means that developing new services is often pushed to the back of the list. For some there is a lack of understanding about dementia and and an understandable fear of going into a field that is unknown and carries risk. Those schemes that have decided they would like to offer more service to people with dementia and their carers are finding recruitment of appropriate Shared Lives carers can be difficult and slow. Shared Lives has not done much direct work with unpaid carers, and this is a new challenge that we are seekign to address.