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Caring for an older family member with learning disabilities
Caring for an older family member with learning disabilities

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2.2 Explore your options

Where possible, local authorities want people who require care to live in the area in which they live with their families. Gather as much information as you can about what is available locally and visit places with the person you care for before taking any decisions. Test out the different places if you can, for example, by arranging for your relative to have a ‘trial run’ at those you think might be suitable. As you do all this think also about what type of place would not work and why not. This will help when it comes to talking to any professionals about your plans. Sam had ‘Shared Lives accommodation’. This type of accommodation and some examples of other options are set out below.

Shared lives

This involves living with (use of a separate bedroom is guaranteed) a person paid to be a carer in their home. There might be other people with learning disabilities who live there too. While the carer provides the support required, day centre activities are incorporated into many Shared Lives schemes. This is increasingly promoted by local authorities, although it does not necessarily promote the autonomy and independence of the person living with learning disabilities.

Supported living

This is when the person with learning disabilities lives in a flat or house on their own or with housemates and with support workers. The support is through a ‘personalised care package’ which is based on a needs assessment. Most people in supported living rent their home via a tenancy agreement. Some people own or part-own their home. One way to do this is through a shared ownership scheme for people with disabilities called mysafe home [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Residential and nursing care

Care homes provide residential care which includes care (in some cases nursing care too) and support 24/7, food, furniture, a room, bills and activities. Some care homes are just for people with learning disabilities, while others have a mix of people.

Family home

With additional support – such as personal care and assistive technology (see hft virtual smarthouse for ideas on assistive technology to make homes safe) – the person with learning disabilities can continue to live in your home or move to another family member’s home.