Shared living is a service that brings together an individual, a couple or a family in the community with a person who has a disability to share their lives in an authentic, loving and respectful relationship of mutual dependence. Shared living is not a group home, foster care, boarding or residential program. Shared living is a long-term commitment to make someone a part of a home and a family. Since Nontouck began our Shared Living Program in 1987, we’ve helped hundreds of people with disabilities thrive in shared living settings.
Do you wonder what shared living is and how it works? Lots of people do. Here are a few frequently asked questions about shared living:
1. How is shared living different from a group home or residential program?
Shared living is very different from care options traditionally offered to people with disabilities. Our goal is to help people with disabilities live full and authentic lives, and to help create loving and respectful relationships of mutual dependence. Shared living helps us reach that goal by providing each person in need of care with personalized service in a home-based setting. A person and caregiver live together on equal footing where they share a mutuality of love and respect. Each person has responsibilities, and every person in the home can depend on the others. In shared living, the person receiving the services is a part of the neighborhood and community, participating in meaningful activities with the caregiver, friends or members of the household. The mutuality of relationships, which offers people with disabilities the chance to become a part of a home and a family, is what shared living is all about.
2. Do the people you serve get a choice about who they live with?
Yes! When a person with a disability is referred for shared living services, Nonotuck listens deeply to that person, as well as their family and friends. We want to know about their personality, interests, culture, and routines, and their ideas about what it takes to have a happy and successful life. We then match people receiving services with potential caregivers based on those preferences. Qualified potential caregivers are presented to the person needing care, who then makes the final choice of where they will live.
3. What kind of support do shared living households get?
Once a person with a disability is matched with a shared living provider, Nonotuck provides training for the provider. We want to make sure the provider can confidently meet the needs and desires of the person who has a disability. Nonotuck maintains a close relationship with each and every one of our shared living families through monthly home visits. We offer ongoing support and guidance and provide both clinical and nursing supports as needed. All shared living households have 24 hour on-call support, and providers receive a generous stipend.
Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.