Sandie and Ken Stevens, who are both aged 66 and live in Chippenham have been Shared Lives carers for 10 years. They care for Pam, 70, and Roger, 75, who both have learning difficulties. Together they're showing what a #GoodLife in an ordinary family looks like!
For Sandie, becoming a Shared Lives carer was simply a continuation of her career. Having worked as a special needs instructor for twenty years, she said that as she approached retirement she had “so much more to give” and that becoming a Shared Lives carer seemed like the perfect way forward.
For her, the best thing about being a Shared Lives carer is the immense sense of personal satisfaction it gives her. “When you see someone growing, and learning to do something new for the first time, well there’s nothing quite like it,” she commented.
And both Roger and Pam have made great progress while living with the couple. Pam is now very passionate about her new hobby – quilt making. She is also taking a renewed interest in her appearance and is now, says Sandie, “quite the make-up diva.”
Pam said she had never experienced a home and family life like this before, and added: “I’m like everyone else now – I’ve got a family”
Roger has also come on in leaps and bounds. He is now learning to manage his money for the first time and also loves helping with meal preparation, with serving the vegetables for dinner a particular favourite.
The best thing about the arrangement, says Sandie, is that “they really are just one big happy family.” Indeed, since becoming Shared Lives carers, she says that despite the respite care available to them her and Ken have actually only been on one holiday just the two of them – for their wedding anniversary – and “missed Roger and Pam the whole time”.
In fact they are all so close that she says she often forgets that they live with her as part of the Shared Lives scheme at all as “they really are just part of the family”.
Despite this, she notes that the support available from Shared Lives is second to none and that “there is always someone to turn to if you are ever finding things tough.”
Catch ITV’s interview with this happy family here:
If you’ve got room in your home and heart – start your journey to becoming a Shared Lives carer today!