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Hertfordshire County Council

After working in care for over 20 years, Tracey was keen to continue supporting adults with learning difficulties. This time, she was hoping to care for them at her house, as part of her own family.

Joining the programme

Tracey said,

“I wanted to live with someone I could  bring out the best in. I only heard about Shared Lives when enquiring about adult fostering opportunities and immediately applied.”

After going through the application and matching process with the Shared Lives team, Tracey was partnered with Ethan.

Ethan has a learning disability, which means he requires more time to process and make everyday decisions.

“It’s a full on role, you never stop, but the reward of seeing someone flourish is massive. The Shared Lives programme has made a huge difference to Ethan and to me.” says Tracey.

Supporting Ethan to achieve

With Tracey’s patient support and encouragement, Ethan's confidence is building. He now attends college, and his local youth club, where he meets new friends and tries activities. He also takes part in everyday tasks such as washing, ironing, and has developed a passion for cooking.

Tracey reflects,

“He’s not even aware of how much he’s achieving. Ethan has come such a long way in a short space of time."

In the future, Tracey would love for Ethan to continue taking steps towards living semi-independently near to his mum. This seemed like an ambitious target before Ethan arrived, but with the support of Tracey and her family, this seems possible.

How Shared Lives has helped Tracey

Shared Lives has a support network for Carers that runs throughout the duration of the programme, including planned respite and carer advice.

"The training is extensive and flexible, and the ongoing support is fantastic. The team are always there to help when I need them.”  Tracey adds.

She's been quick to promote the Shared Lives programme to her friends and former colleagues.

Tracey says,

"You need to be a tolerant and patient person to succeed as a Shared Lives Carer, but the emotional rewards are huge and I’ve promoted Shared Lives wherever I go.”

Ethan is also quick to add his thoughts on Shared Lives and living with Tracey and all the family.

“Shared Lives is good. It’s really good.”