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Sunday, 27 May 2018
A MOTHER and daughter have been honoured for opening their home to adults with learning difficulties.
Rosemary Dean and Lindsay Howard-Dean, from Christmas Common, have been supporting two people for several years as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Shared Lives scheme, which provides somewhere to stay for adults with a disability or mental health problem.
Mrs Dean and Mrs Howard-Dean were highly commended at the Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers’ annual awards, which were held at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford.
Mrs Howard-Dean, 35, has been part of the scheme for more than a decade.
She shares her home with Mark, who has a mild learning disability, and Claire, who has cerebral palsy and a learning disability.
She and her husband Tim, an engineer, consider both to be part of their family and an extra aunt and uncle for their son Orson.
Mrs Howard-Dean said: “My mother Rosemary, who still helps out even though she’s retired, was a Shared Lives carer for 20 years before I became their main carer.
“In the mornings I get up and help Claire get up washed, ready and breakfasted and I help Mark plan his day.
“He recently took early retirement so he’s often off into town. He has got an active social life and we plan his timings and transport and offer emotional support.
“Then I go about my day as a farmer, facilitator of animal assisted learning and being a mum. Claire spends time with us on the farm. She enjoys the company of the animals — we’ve got sheep, cows, horses and donkeys and at this lovely time of year we also have lambs. She also attends day services.
“I home educate Orson so on a daily basis we really are an extended happy family.”
The Shared Lives scheme offers long-term accommodation, short breaks, respite care and day support in 80 households across the county.
Service users stay in the home for a designated number of nights a week or month or as part of a permanent long-term arrangement.
It is open to anyone who has been assessed under the Care Act and referred by a council social worker or care co-ordinator.
Mrs Howard-Dean said people were aware of fostering for children but there was not as much information about caring for adults.
She said: “I’m sure there are people out there who’d be interested in Shared Lives if only they knew more. It is very much a vocation. It gives you a bigger family.
“I’ve grown up with Claire and Mark and they are part of our family. It enriches our lives too and helps educate Orson to the challenges that people face in life.
“Enabling people’s lives while they live under your roof is incredibly rewarding. It gives people a new perspective on how lucky they are and the sharing aspect is very humbling. I’d strongly recommend it.”
For more information about Shared Lives, call 01865 897971 or visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/
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