Shared Lives stories: Wendy & Grazelda
Grazela is one of our Shared Lives carers from South Gloucestershire. She’s been supporting Wendy for 24 years since, she was 8 years old. When Wendy turned 18 she asked to live with Grazelda. Grazelda has been with Ategi since we took over the Shared Lives scheme in 2016 and has been caring for people long before that! We had a lovely chat with Grazelda to find out more about her experience as a Shared Lives carer.
Q: How did you become a Shared Lives carer?
A: First I was a respite worker, working with 8 families. I stopped when I adopted the boys. I’ve been supporting Wendy since she was 8, at the time she would come and stay with me through respite.
Q: What do you like about Shared Lives?
A: It gives Wendy stability, we’re Shared Lives carers for her really.
Q: How does Shared Lives help people?
A: Before Wendy was with us she didn’t feel secure or safe. She wasn’t happy in her placement for a long time. Once she was 18 she thought, I don’t have to stay here, and she asked to stay with us. Now she’s with us through Shared Lives and for the first time she feels safe, she’s secure. Wendy is now much more confident, a family environment suits her.
Q: How would you describe Shared Lives?
A: It means what is says, you get someone to live with you as part of your family and it’s so rewarding, hard work but well worth it. You’re making someone feel secure and safe.
Q: Has Shared Lives changed much since you started?
A: There’s more help, there’s more training, there’s people I can contact all the time.
Q: Would you recommend Shared Lives?
A: I would recommend it. It’s very rewarding. You have to know what you can cope with and you need to be honest about what you can deal with and be prepared to do training.