Shared Lives success stories | Oxfordshire County Council

Shared Lives success stories

Meet the people who have benefited from Shared Lives and find out how it has changed their lives.


Elizabeth is an older lady who lives next door to her son John and his wife Betty. She has become increasingly frail in recent years and carers visit twice a day to help her get up and dressed and get ready for bed at night.

John and Betty take meals in for Elizabeth or sometimes she might go into their home to share a meal. It had been some time since John and Betty had been able to have a holiday together.

Elizabeth wasn’t keen on the idea of going to a care home for a break and was adamant she would be alright on her own at home. John and Betty didn’t feel they could leave Betty alone even with carers going in to see her.

Elizabeth's care manager suggested she try the Shared Lives scheme. Elizabeth met with the Shared Lives Social worker who explained how the scheme works and found out what sort of household she might like.

Elizabeth thought she might like somewhere quiet , much like her own home but, in the end, after meeting some different Shared Lives Carers she chose to spend her break in a lively household where there was a young child. This worked well for everyone.

The Shared Lives carers enjoyed Elizabeth's company. It suits them to work from home and means they can spend time with their little girl. Elizabeth enjoyed being around a small child again and was able to retreat to her bedroom or the conservatory if she wanted some peace and quiet. She has been looking forward to her next break.


James was referred to the Shared Lives scheme after a lengthy hospital stay and treatment for s serious, life-threatening illness. He was going to need hospital treatment for the rest of his life.
James had had a particularly chaotic lifestyle, moving from area to area and periodically sleeping rough. He had no family or friends and was terrified at the thought of living alone.

Now in his fifties, he was dealing with physical and mental health issues and difficulties maintaining relationships. He also had money worries and a history of misusing alcohol. There was concern that, if he reverted to his previous lifestyle, he would end up living rough again and jeopardise his health.

James tried two or three placements before the right one was found. He now lives with two experienced Shared Lives carers, Val and Gary, who run a business from home and have been supporting people for nearly 20 years. Two of their grown-up children are also Shared Lives carers.

They provide a supportive environment and can cope with James’ volatile behaviour and help him find other ways to deal with problems.

He has become part of the family, helps with the gardening and care of the pets and sometimes cooks for everyone. He has also developed a more independent life, and goes out on his own when he is well.

Because he is settled and has somewhere stable to live, James has been able to start therapy to help him manage his emotional difficulties as well as treatment for his physical health problems. He knows there is somewhere there for him if he becomes unwell.

He regularly tells Shared Lives workers: “This is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Watch videos of other people who have benefited from the Shared Lives scheme.

Last reviewed
20 September 2017
PrintPrint Give us feedback on this pageFeedback form, opens in new window.
Access key details Skip to main content Home News Sitemap Search Website help Complaints Terms and conditions Website feedback