Call for carers to offer live-in help in their own homes

Carer Julie Lenehan
Carer Julie Lenehan

A 65-year-old carer from Retford who has invited a woman with Down’s Syndrome to live with her in her home is urging others to offer the same help.

For two years now, Jo, 38, has lived with Julie Lenehan as part of the Shared Lives scheme run by Nottinghamshire County Council.

She receives help with day-to-day tasks, medication and self-care. Julie is also there as a friend, providing company by watching TV, going swimming or meeting friends.

Julie’s is one of 63 households across the county that offers long-term accommodation and support, or short breaks, for people with a disablity or mental-health needs, and the elderly.

Now the county council is looking for more homes who have room to become part of the Shared Lives scheme. All carers receive training and ongoing support, and are paid to reflect the level of support needed.

Julie said: “If you think you can make a difference to someone’s life, I would encourage you to become a Shared Lives carer. The most important thing is that you are passionate and caring.

“Jo helps me to step out of my comfort zone. We do all kinds of activities together. She is the favourite customer of our local coffee shop and we visit as much as we can.”

Julie took up her Shared Lives role four years ago after working long shift-hours in a residential home.

She describes Jo as a bubbly person who is full of life and loves dancing, theatre, pop and TV soaps. They have even been on holiday together to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.

Coun Tony Harper said: “This is a great scheme that enables people to enjoy independence and be part of their local community.”