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A Difficult Year

Posted 09:05AM on Friday 21 October 2016

The Families Matter Shared Lives Service offered by Positive Futures is a model of support which provides family based provision for people with a learning disability, acquired brain injury or autistic spectrum condition. Volunteer Shared Lives providers are from all walks of life and they provide support in long term permanent arrangements or short breaks, in their own homes. The people we support, their families and shared lives providers find this a very rewarding experience and both they and their family circles have many stories of how their lives are enriched through these experiences.

This year has been very difficult for Paul.

Paul had lived with his foster carer Mary since he was very young and grew up regarding her as his mother. He fondly called her ‘Mum’. Paul also enjoyed the company of his ‘foster cousin’ Rose, who frequently visited Mary’s house with her family.

Over the last few years Mary had been struggling with cancer. In September 2015 the cancer became much more aggressive. Realising that her Aunt was in deteriorating health and would struggle to look after Paul, Rose decided that she wanted to help by providing support for Paul. Through Families Matter Shared Lives Service Rose and her husband Martin were approved as short term carers for Paul in September 2015 which meant they were able to provide short breaks for Paul during Mary’s illness.

Sadly Mary passed away in February 2016.

Already familiar with the house through his short breaks with them, Paul was able to move in with Rose and Martin and make it his permanent home. He has benefitted from living with the family, who are warm and caring and encourage Paul in all aspects of his life. Rose and Martin have fully embraced the ethos of Shared Lives.

Families Matter Shared Lives enabled Paul to be supported through his grief by people he knew, who cared about him and enabled him to move on to become a permanent part of a new warm and loving home.

Paul, along with his carers, is a frequent visitor to Shared Lives events where he enjoys meeting other people. The year is drawing to an end on a happier note than it began and Paul is looking forward to an imminent family holiday to Florida.