Lifesharing Through Family Living
What is Lifesharing?
- A program that enables an individual with an intellectual disability to join a provider family or a companion, in their private home, as a fully participating member of that family
- Sharing life experiences, building mutual relationships and responsibilities
- High quality, long term living situation that promotes choice and community integration
Benefits of Lifesharing:
- Less restrictive, more individual-based residential service than group home services with 24/7 support from Barber National Institute staff
- Being part of a family in a caring, committed home
- Stability and continuity in one's life
- Increased community involvement
- Developing relationships and friendships
- Providers specifically trained on the individuals diagnosis, needs, strengths, and interests
Supports for the Individual:
- Person centered/individualized services supports tailored to dreams and goals
- Regular communication with biological family
- Assistance with coordination of healthcare
- 24/7 support from program specialist/on call
- Continuity of support from program specialist within all Barber programs
Supports for the Provider:
- 24/7 on call support from Barber National Institute program specialist and on call staff
- Training specific to daily life, diagnosis, needs and interests of the individual and family dynamics
- Assistance with the coordination of the individual's healthcare
- Team support and collaboration
- Substitute care opportunities
Biological Family Involvement:
- Varies depending on the family's and individual's desires and family dynamics
- The provider family is not meant to replace the biological family but to serve as an extension of the family
What are the Requirements to be a Provider?
Enjoying people and being willing to share and help others are the most important skills for a provider. Our providers are very diverse and include single adults, single parents, two parent families with children, and "empty-nest" families. No special experience is needed to become a provider; training and support are provided by the staff of the Barber National Institute.
How Does the Process Start?
The potential providers and the individual are carefully interviewed, then matched to ensure they have compatible interests and personalities. The Lifesharing Specialist will then arrange supervised visits to introduce the individual to the provider’s home and family. You will slowly progress, developing a relationship, until all parties feel comfortable with the move into your home
How are Providers Paid?
Providers receive a federally tax-exempt stipend twice every month to cover service and room/board. The individual’s income and benefits cover their own medical expenses and personal purchases. Additional support services are available based on the individual’s needs. Payments to the providers can also be used to cover the cost of "substitute care" if a provider is not able to provide for short periods such as vacations, illness, etc.
How Can I Get More Information?
Lifesharing is a wonderful program that enriches the lives of all involved! If you would like more information, please contact Jere Paolini at (215) 871-0731 for Philadelphia or, in Erie, contact Maggie Dimitriadis at (814) 878-5517 or Cherylynn McIntosh at (814) 874-5623.