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Community Counts: The Many Benefits of Shared Living

At Nonotuck Resource Associates Inc., we believe that every person should have a choice, a voice and the opportunity to live an authentic life.

One way we fulfill that vision is through our Shared Living program.

Shared living is a personalized service designed to address the unique personality of the person who will receive services. Shared living can be a long-term commitment between the caregiver and the disabled person to create a home life and a valued relationship. Shared living can also be an interim commitment where people care deeply for each other but move on to new relationships in their life.

Shared living offers benefits to both the disabled person and to the individual or family offering caregiving.

All of the people involved develop authentic, loving and respectful relationships of mutual dependence. Each person brings their own strengths to the household and each has responsibilities. People in a shared living home depend on each other for intellectual, physical and emotional support.

Serah Muri has been a shared living provider since 2006.

“What I love best about shared living is inviting somebody into your home and working with that person and just the sense of belonging, the essence of working in partnership with the person you support,” she says.

In a shared living household, the person with a disability has the opportunity to create a vision for their life and supports are provided to meet that vision. Nonotuck provides caregivers with training to make sure a disabled person’s needs are met and that their preferences are heard.  But services begin with the heart and the heart clearly drives the fundamentals of shared living.

The model moves to have the person receiving the services embedded in her/his neighborhood and community, participating in meaningful activities with the caregiver, friends or members of the household. At home, this could include activities like baking and playing games. Outside the home, shared living members do what other people do. They attend church, go to the movies, eat in restaurants, go to ballgames, hike, go on vacations or lounge around outside.

Nonotuck works hard to match a person with a disability with a shared living provider that brings their heart to building a relationship. We match families and people to be served based on likes, dislikes, routines, culture, personalities and more.

The mutuality of relationships is a key part of Nonotuck’s vision, offering disabled people the chance to become a part of a home and a family, with authentic, loving relationships. That mutuality is what shared living is all about.

“(Through shared living) people with a disability experience a real transformation and discover confidence in themselves; they discover their capacity to make choices, and also find a certain liberty and above all their dignity as human beings.”

—Jean Vanier

Caregiving with Love:
Guide for Shared Living Providers

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.

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