Shared Lives offers a unique service for adults who need some support to live their life to the full. You could access support for a few hours a week, right through to weekend stays, holidays, or a long-term live-in arrangement. 

Living with or having respite with a Shared Lives carer means you have your own private bedroom while staying in a friendly household as part of the family. You can get as much support as you need to lead the life you choose. This may include:

  • Joining local groups and taking part in activities such as crafts, sports and local events
  • Feeling part of a family and contributing to family life
  • Sharing and enjoying hobbies and interests with your Carer and be included in family trips and experiences
  • Developing your life skills to achieve your own goals
  • Support to access education, employment and various day service opportunities
  • Making and maintaining friendships and relationships


Our Shared Lives carers can offer support to any adult over 18, who meets the Adult Social care criteria. The Shared Lives team works collaboratively with learning disability, autism, mental health, dementia, physical disabilities, young adults in transition, sensory and hospital services to ensure we provide the right support to those who need it.

Talk to your social worker about whether Shared Lives is right for you or contact the Shared Lives Cumbria team directly for more information. If your social worker thinks that you meet the criteria and you think it would be the right fit for you, then they will make a referral to our team.  

Once we have received the referral we will contact you, to get to know you and get an idea of your interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes. With your consent, we will then share this information, along with your Care Act assessment, with a potential Shared Lives Carer who shares your interests and hobbies. We will provide you with their Shared Lives Carer Profile so that you can decide if you would like to meet them and get to know them better.  

The matching process can take as long as you need with home visits so that you feel comfortable with the carer and the environment.  

Once matched, you and your carer will sign an arrangement agreement and continue with your placement.  We will then review this placement every 3 months to make sure you are happy with your shared lives carer.

If you meet the criteria for the Shared Lives Service, funding comes from Adult Social Care. 

For transport, meals out, hobbies and other activities there will be some cost involved, which your scheme worker will discuss with you.  

People supported in a long-term arrangement will pay their housing benefit payment and a personal contribution towards living costs. Further guidance is available from the Shared Lives team.