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Shared Lives scheme and independent living

Information about the Shared Lives scheme and independent living for adults with learning disabilities.

Shared Lives

The Shared Lives scheme offers accommodation and support within approved family homes for people aged 18 and over who rely on the help and support of others to maximise their potential and maintain a sense of independence.

What Shared Lives is

The scheme has been in place since the 1980s and used to be called 'adult placement scheme'. It offers support to people who, through disability or ill health, are unable to remain in the community. The scheme enables those who use it to share the daily life of the shared lives carer, and live in an ordinary domestic situation.

Shared Lives South West have made a video which shows you more about the shared lives scheme.

Who will benefit from the Shared Lives scheme

Many people in Derbyshire who already use our scheme have very positive experiences of sharing time with their Shared Lives carers.

There are lots of adults who need support and care. Shared Lives is able to support if you if you are an older person or have a disability or a mental illness, or are a young vulnerable adult in transition from children's support services to adult care.

Shared Lives can:

  • provide support and accommodation to enable people to move from their family carers to live with a shared lives carer
  • offer people an alternative to institutional day care and residential or nursing care
  • provide family carers with a regular break from caring
  • help people to maintain and develop their independence and life skills away from family carers and in different surroundings
  • provide support to a family during an emergency and offer reassurance that the person they care for is looked after

What it costs

There is a charge for staying with a Shared Lives carer in their home. The cost will depend upon the length of time you stay and your individual situation. Someone from your social work team will assess this.

Find out more

If you already have a social worker you can ask them for more details. If you do not have a social worker, but feel you would benefit from the scheme yourself, or know someone who might benefit, please contact us for an informal chat on the number below.

Who can become a Shared Lives Carer?

Carers come from all walks of life. Some are single, some have families, some work, some do not and some are retired. It's necessary to be patient, consistent, in a stable home situation, flexible and enthusiastic to learn. If you have these qualities, then you might be a suitable carer. We welcome applications from all people regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and disability. As a shared lives carer you are paid a fee for any support you provide. You'll receive training and you'll be supported in your carer role by the scheme’s social workers.

This video produced by Shared Lives South West explains more about the role of a shared lives carer.

If you're interested in becoming a shared lives carer, please contact Shared Lives for more information.



Tel: 01629 533769

Write to:

Shared Lives
Adult Care
The Hub
Shiner’s Way
South Normanton
DE55 2FY

Supported living

Supported living is an alternative to residential care, providing on-site support and accommodation to people who are assessed as eligible for adult care services. People with learning disabilities are often asked to live in supported living accommodation so they can be as independent as possible.

In a supported living service people have their own tenancy agreement with the housing provider. Accommodation is often arranged as a house share with other individuals with similar support needs. Each tenant has their own separate tenancy (or in some cases home ownership) but can share support hours. However, it is possible for a person living alone to have a supported living arrangement.

The housing provider and support provider are often separate organisations. Accommodation is homely, with individuals contributing to daily tasks around their own home.

Support in these schemes can be from a few hours a week to up to 24 hours per day, depending on the assessed needs of the client.

If you believe you or someone you care for would benefit from a supported living arrangement, please speak to your adult care worker.

There is a practice guidance document for independent providers who support people to live independently attached to this page.

You can find out more about how to employ a personal assistant to support you to live independently on our personal care and support pages.

We also have information about direct payments and services that help you to live at home. Our care homes directory has information about agencies that provide home care services which can help people to live independently.

Further resources

I can - challenging assumptions about learning disabilities.

Watch our myth busting videos