Page 38 - TalkingCareMagazine_Online Issue4
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   Shared Lives Scheme
share your home
a difference to real lives
Oxfordshire Shared Lives offers support to all vulnerable adults with a range of needs. Angela and Tom have been Shared Lives carers for 3 years and have supported several people in their home during this  me. One person they support is Jean who has memory loss; the regular day care and weekend respite that Angela and Tom provide gives Jean a change from her normal rou ne and her husband Michael a break from his caring role. Michael and Angela share their story...
      The Oxfordshire Shared Lives Scheme supports carers to provide care and support in their own home to vulnerable adults.
People who use the service need prac cal and emo onal support in order to live their lives more fully and independently and feel part of a family household. They may have a learning disability, physical disability or mental health need, or they could be an older person or someone with demen a.
Here in Oxfordshire we are keen to recruit people from all walks of life, who feel they can offer this type of paid support in their own home. It could be anything from occasional short breaks or day  me support, through to a longer term full  me arrangement. The support that our carers give makes a huge difference to the lives of people using the service, o en enabling them to experience new opportuni es and reach new goals.
No ma er what type of arrangement our carers provide, they all receive on­going support and training from a team of qualified social workers to ensure delivery of high quality, person centred care.
There are also regular opportuni es to meet up with other carers and service users at social and informa on events, so a wider support network is also available.
If you have a spare room to offer and would like to play a key part in making a posi ve difference to someone’s life, then we really want to hear from you!
 Call the Oxfordshire Shared Lives Scheme on 01865 897971 or visit our website: cms/public­site/shared­lives
Michael writes...By way of background ­ Jean was a teacher, and
agoodone. Althoughsheended up as Senior Mistress running
the staff room of a busy
school, her favourite place was always at the blackboard in front
ofaclassroomfullofkids. She re red in 1999, at least partly to
find a cure for her chronic back pain. Her memory loss started maybe ten yearsago. Firstitwasabitofa family joke, then an irrita on and thenaproblem. In2009shewas
diagnosed with amnes c Mild Cogni ve Impairment. Her short­term memory has now deteriorated to a minute or two. We can discuss over breakfast the next thing to do, and by the  me the cups are in the dishwasher, all memory of that conversa on has disappeared.
The impact of Jean’s memory loss is catastrophic. She cannot process any informa on and therefore cannot take part in groupconversa ons. Shehaslostall independence and is bewildered and disoriented in any new surroundings. At home
Jean needs constant support and s mula on and cannot cope independently with the simplest of tasks. The technical terms for this are, loss of voli onal ac vity and execu ve func on. This impacts, not only on the recent past, (e.g, TV programmes, concerts, conversa ons are not retained), but also on the future. Plans for forthcoming events such as this evening, next weekend or holidays are constructed in the recent past, and if that doesn’t exist, then of course, neither can the future.
In parallel with this, her arthri s got worse and in 2011 she had major spinal surgery. While this was successful to some extent, it has le  her with chronic back pain and limited mobility. The arthri s also extends to her hands and knees.
Our kids live abroad and I am therefore the main Carer, 24/7/365. Fortunately, there is no ‘challenging behaviour’ but Jean s ll needs constant companionship to bring structure and order to her life. As Jean’s main Carer, I spend a great deal of  me organising ac vi es and social interac ons to try to maintain social contacts and interests for her, but with
 Share your home and make a difference...

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