Carers willing to share family home asked to come forward

Julie Armstrong /

Shared Lives carer Myrna, on right, who shares her home with Mary

MORE carers are needed to support adults with learning disabilities within the family home.

Twelve adults in the Ealing borough with mild to moderate learning difficulties are currently benefiting from at-home placements as part of the Ealing Shared Lives scheme.

Half live with families full-time as an alternative to living in a care home, while the rest use the scheme for overnight or short term respite care or support in the community.

The philosophy behind Shared Lives is that the cared-for person becomes part of the family.

Revealed: the hidden lives of the UK’s 6.5 million carers

Caring is an activity most of us will do at some point in our lives but it usually goes on behind lace curtains.

Top photographer Chris Steele-Perkins aims to change that by putting caring into sharp focus in his latest exhibition
Dawn Hart and her twins, Grace and Ethan, who are both severely disabled. Dawn and her husband, Garry, are both full-time carer, as 6.5 million other Britons. Photograph: Chris Steele-Perkins/Magnum

Dawn Hart’s son, Ethan, had only been at home from hospital for six days when he stopped breathing. It was midnight on a Sunday and she was breastfeeding him in bed.

Passport to making life better for people living with dementia

Carers are more than visitors:

they are part of the team that support a patient with dementia and frailty. Many of the hospitals that welcome carers issue them with passports to identify them and give them a tangible sense of their authority and recognition. These passports were the idea of Dr Sophie Edwards, consultant geriatrician at the North Middlesex Trust, who explains here why she felt them to be crucial.