Shared Lives

Shared Lives provides a unique and highly flexible form of accommodation and support, either on a long or short term basis for people who require support with everyday living. This can be through day support, short breaks, holidays, emergency placements, or long term placements. The service will encourage you to build and maintain independence, learn new skills, and develop new interests.

We will ‘match’ you with a Shared Lives carer who can meet your needs and with whom you are likely to get on well. The carer will invite you to join in their family life, access their local community, and enjoy all the rights and responsibilities of a citizenship.

We can help you with

Long term placements

A long term placement means you will live with a Shared Lives carer in their home, enabling you to live as part of a family within the community and receive the support you need with daily living.

Short breaks

This is a valuable alternative to traditional respite care. Short breaks can be overnight or for a few weeks, depending on what is needed. For many people, the opportunity of having a short break with Shared Lives carers can make all the difference, and for a family, they can be a welcome break from the sometimes emotional and physically draining role of caring for a loved one.

Day support

We offer a flexible day support service, which carers can provide in their own homes, in the local community, or in your own home, for periods of up to six hours at a time. As support is often provided on a one to one basis, this can be tailored to meet individual needs.


Holidays are an alternative way for you to take a break either in the UK or abroad. You will be matched with Shared Lives carer(s) and a small group of other service users and given a choice of where you go on holiday. Holidays are an ideal way of enabling new or existing friendships to develop, as well as a great opportunity for you to experience different countries and cultures.

Emergency placements

An emergency placement is often provided to support families in times of crisis or if your main carer is unavailable because of ill health, hospitalisation, etc. Emergency placements are available for an indefinite amount of time, and the length of stay will depend on you and your family’s needs.

Funding and budgets

If your stay with a Shared Lives carer has been arranged by a social worker, they will pay us for your support. However, the local authority will carry out a financial assessment, and you may have to pay something towards to the service you receive.

You may have been assessed for an individual budget, from which you can pay Independent Options directly for any support you need. We will help you decide the type of support that would be most appropriate for you and talk to you about the costs.

If you move in to live with a Shared Lives carer on a long term basis, you will be asked to contribute to their household bills. The amount will be agreed when you first move in, and will be reviewed each year.

Kevin's Story

Kevin uses Independent Options’ Short Breaks service. His Mum, Jude, tells of how the experience has helped her family.

“Having a disabled child totally changes the dynamics of family life. With all the meetings, hospital appointments and such it can be draining on everyone. When Kevin is at Hallfield guest house I am safe in the knowledge that he is with staff who genuinely care. I also know that he always has a great time and he can do what he chooses to do safely – and without his Mum there too! To have this service is so valuable as it gives me as a parent that time to do things I can’t when Kevin is at home, and I don’t feel guilty leaving him because I know that he really enjoys his time there with the staff and other guests.

“I adore my son and would not change him or his disability as then that would not be Kevin, but to have these respite breaks is wonderful for both of us as it means that I can recharge my batteries too. A service like the one offered through Independent Options is genuinely priceless.”

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