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Supporting older people with learning disabilities and their families
Supporting older people with learning disabilities and their families

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1 Introducing Geoff

In this session you’ll be introduced to Geoff.

Activity 1 Learning about Geoff’s life

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Watch the video to find out more about Geoff and his life in a Shared Lives placement.

Download this video clip.Video player: gopa_2_session3_video1.mp4
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Now read the detailed vignette about Geoff below. As you read, make notes on up to 5 things that are positive about Geoff’s life.

Geoff’s story

Geoff is 73 years old. He lives with Gill, Ian, their daughter R, and five pet dogs. Gill and Ian are Geoff’s Shared Lives carers and he has lived with them for seven years. Two other women also live there through a Shared Lives placement. Gill and Ian have two sons in their twenties who don’t live at home anymore. They became Shared Lives carers after working as support workers for years and were not happy about the way people were treated.

Before moving in with Gill and Ian, Geoff lived in a large residential home after growing up with his family on their farm.

Geoff is a farmer and this is what he loves to do. He brought goats with him when he came to live with Gill and Ian, and enjoys tending to his animals, which now include pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese and sheep. He takes part in all the animal care and is always keen to increase his menagerie of animals. He successfully hatched chicks and ducklings in his incubator in 2021. He has also prepared an area of garden for growing vegetables, rotavated the land and grows a range of vegetables. From dawn until dusk, he is out tending to his smallholding. He also loves the five dogs. The small and developing farm that now surrounds Gill and Ian’s home in the Devon countryside was built by Geoff – he made the enormous fruit cage, the sheds, animal runs and put up the fences.

A photograph of a man holding a bucket next to a pig in a farm setting.

Geoff is very knowledgeable about farming and animals. He breeds poultry for meat and enjoys giving gifts of free-range chicken or goose at Christmas and Easter time.

A photograph of a group of ducks in a field.

When he was a young man, he was attacked in a nightclub and was not found until the following day. He was in a coma and almost died. After this incident, Geoff’s mum moved him to what Ian describes as a large institution. The rest of the family did not agree with this decision. Geoff lived there for a long time. Now, in the evening, when he is in his chair in front of the fire, Geoff will sometimes say ‘they didn’t need to put I in there’ and ‘they shouldn’t have done that to I’.

Now Geoff is fit and well and very content where he lives. Gill and Ian view Geoff and the other two women as part of their extended family. When Gill’s parents visit, her dad is really coming to see Geoff and will head down to see him in the fields before seeing anyone else. The plan is for Geoff to live with Gill and Ian for the rest of his life.

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Here are some of the positives you may have noted:

  • The Shared Lives placement has enabled Geoff to spend him time doing what he loves – farming.
  • The placement has been stable and consistent.
  • It sounds like Geoff has become part of the extended family, indicating a sense of belonging.
  • Geoff seems to keep fit and active through his work on the farm.
  • There appears to be forward looking plans in place for Geoff.

In the next section you will explore how Geoff is supported to live and age well, and some of the challenges associated with that.