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Putting Shared Lives in the spotlight for National Shared Lives Week

Published on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A CITY placement scheme that offers support for adults with learning disabilities is being highlighted as part of National Shared Lives Week.

Shared Lives Week runs from 17 to 25 June. It’s a national event aimed at raising awareness of schemes up and down the country where vulnerable adults live with carers in specialist placements – either as a long-term arrangement, or for daytime or respite care.

In Leicester, 26 adults currently live in long-term Shared Lives placements, with seven more receiving daytime or respite support.

Among them are brothers Harish and Jagdish Pankhania, who both live in Leicester with different carers.

Harish, 59, and Jagdish, 50, both have learning disabilities which mean they need help from carers to make day-to-day decisions.  

Harish has lived with his Shared Lives carer, Indu Bali, since 2011. They’ve recently visited India together, and have just been on a coach trip taking in Belgium, Germany and Austria.

Indu said: “It’s very rewarding looking after Harish and assisting him with his daily living. It’s great to see how happy he is when we go away on holidays. I’m very proud to be a Shared Lives carer.”

Jagdish lives with Shared Lives carers Jagdish Singh and Balbir Kaur. He’s known them since 2013, having had several respite placements with them, and has lived with them on a long-term basis since May 2014.

He too has visited India with his carers recently, visiting the Golden Temple – the holiest temple of Sikhism – in Amritsar.

Carers Jagdish and Balbir said: “Jagdish has become a family member and we enjoy sharing our lives with him. He always wanted to visit the Golden Temple and travel in an aeroplane, so we’re really glad we were able to help fulfill his dream of travelling to India.”

Deputy city mayor Cllr Rory Palmer, who leads on adult social care, said: “Shared Lives offers people a way of living that is tailored to them. It’s also an excellent way of ensuring vulnerable people and people with learning disabilities can play an active part in our communities.

“Schemes like this are successful because they put the needs of vulnerable people first – they start by looking at what their needs are and work outwards from there. They’re also great for carers, because they offer flexible working from home, in a career that is very rewarding, enhancing the quality of life and wellbeing of vulnerable adults.”

Shared Lives carers are carefully selected and matched for compatibility with the people they could help. The service is currently looking for more carers, particularly those who can offer long-term placements.

To be a Shared Lives carer, you need caring experience. Most placements are with adults with learning disabilities, although the service is also hoping to develop some placements for older people with dementia.

To find out more about Shared Lives, visit www.leicester.gov.uk/sharedlives

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