Lifesharing through Family Living

Philadelphia, PA

Lifesharing residential service in Philadelphia, PA

Lifesharing through Family Living enables an individual with intellectual disabilities to join a provider family or a companion in their private home as a member of that family. Becoming a Lifesharing family with a person with disabilities, who may or may not be biologically related, means opening one's home and heart to someone who desires to live in a shared, supportive family environment.

Lifesharing programs are more than providing the basics such as food and shelter. It is about sharing life experiences in a mutually beneficial and enduring relationship.

Benefits of Lifesharing

  • Less restrictive, more individual-based residential service than community home services with 24/7 support from Barber National Institute staff
  • Being a part of a family in a caring, committed home
  • Stability and continuity in one's life
  • Increased commuinty involvement
  • Developing relationships and friendships
  • Providers specifically trained on the individual's dianosis, needs, strengths and interests

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 Lifesharing 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 Lifesharing program provider in Philadelphia, PA; training and support are provided by the staff of Barber National Institute.

What will the individual be like?

While individuals with intellectual disabilities may learn more slowly than others, they have the same dreams of independence, friendship and fulfillment. They can also give back love and be a contributing member to family and community. Many of the individuals are currently residing in residential community homes and have expressed a desire to live as part of a family.

Will I have help?

Yes! A Lifesharing Specialist is always available 24/7 to give support, answer questions you may have and assist in coordination of:

  • behavioral support
  • speech/communication assistance
  • other supports for the individual

How does the Lifesharing 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 your home and family. You will slowly progress, developing a relationship, until all parties feel comfortable with the move into your home.


"For people who have been in placement their whole lives, getting to be part of a family gives you more than you ever expected. Being in family living, I learned a lot of things I never knew I could do. It's good to be part of a family."     ~ Kim Fisher, Lifesharing program participant in Philadelphia

What are the provider's responsibilities?

In most cases, the individual will be out in the community during the day, either at school, working at a job, or in an adult day services program. Most providers who work outside the home find taht their schedules mesh very well.

Your Lifesharing Specialist will help you meet your other responsibilities while you learn what is required. These may include:

  • attending medial appointments
  • working on goals to helpl the individual become more independent
  • providing a quality home life that is mutually beneficial for your family and the individual
  • ensuring that your home meets basic safety standards established by the PA Department of Public Welfare

How are providers paid?

Providers receive a monthly stipend, which is federally tax-exempt, 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. Providers in need of a temporary break from care giving have the opportunity to substitute care which is available to assist in an emergency, vacation or to meet other needs.

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 (215) 871-0731 for Lifesharing in the Philadelphia region.

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