‘I live with other people and not alone’: a survey of the views and experiences of older people using Shared Lives (adult placement)

Nadia Brookes, Sinead Palmer, Lisa Callaghan (2016)

Working with Older People 20 3 179-186


Available online: 2 September 2016

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on the views and experiences of older people using Shared Lives (adult placement) in 2012/13. Design/methodology/approach – As part of a survey collecting information about outcomes for older users of Shared Lives issues of whether it had made a difference to quality of life, and positive and negative experiences of support were explored. Findings – Questionnaires were returned by 150 older people using Shared Lives services. Findings suggest that this model of community-based support has a number of advantages for some older people, such as reducing social isolation and loneliness, promoting independence, choice and control, providing emotional support and increased well-being. Research limitations/implications – The questionnaire was self-completed and so responses were not followed up to provide deeper insights. Practical implications – Shared Lives is not appropriate for everyone but it is suggested that this option should form part of local commissioning strategies, be part of a range of options for social care practitioners to consider in their work with older people and helps to meet various current policy imperatives. Originality/value – The potential of Shared Lives for older people is under-researched and this paper contributes to the literature in exploring the views of older people about family-based support in the community.