Shared Living

Done right, shared living provides safety, security, and opportunities for personal growth and development that meet or surpass anything we’ve seen in 25 years of providing residential services to over a hundred individuals and families.  But it has to be done right, and it all hinges on the relationship between the caregiver and the person being supported.

Spectrum’s shared living service matches individuals with full time caregivers. They share a home, living together as roommates or a family would.  Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes. They are singles, couples or families.  As with all our work, we welcome diversity.

Focus on finding the right match:  Individuals in shared living are as different from one another as anyone else in our communities.  They have unique strengths, interests and lifestyles.  Shared living presents an opportunity for individuals to build relationships with caregivers whose lifestyle complements their own.  We take great care in finding the right match, based first and foremost on the person’s strengths, interests and abilities, not their disability.  For someone who loves the outdoors, finding caregivers who have an active lifestyle would be a priority.  Someone with a passion for music might gravitate towards other musicians, and thrive in an environment filled with music.  Spectrum attracts applicants from all walks of life, with varied skills and experiences, who wish to share their life and interests with someone with a disability.  We provide a thorough orientation and ongoing training to ensure that caregivers are fully equipped to provide effective support consistent with the individual’s overall support plan.  However, the most successful shared living arrangements are grounded in relationships built on common interests, values and lifestyles.  The “how to’s” of supporting the person’s disability-related needs are relatively easy to address once that foundation is established.

Caregivers undergo an intensive screening process, that includes a criminal record search, medical clearance, reference checks, interview by the person with a disability and his or her family, and detailed home study with questions about lifestyle, personal supports, values and family dynamics.

There are many reasons why so many people have chosen this model over traditional staffed residential support, but the most important seems to be the opportunity for building an authentic, reciprocal relationship with a caregiver or family who genuinely want to share their life with the person.  When we get this right, everything else starts to fall into place.  People with long histories of challenging behaviour suddenly start to settle down because they’re living with someone they’ve chosen to live with, who listens to and respects them, in a home that truly feels like home.  People’s health improves, under the watchful eye of a caregiver who knows the person intimately, sees them every day, and can attend to things that might get missed in a group home with a revolving door of staff coming through.

Application Process:
If you are interested in applying to share your home with someone, complete this basic application.(BASIC APPLICATION currently closed – please write to amf@spectrumsociety.org if you would like to apply)  We will review this application and may ask you complete this more detailed caregiver application.  Most of our shared living arrangements are funded by Community Living BC.  Their website has a Home Share section that provides lots of information.

Shared Living Contacts:

Anne Maria Fulop 604-323-1433 x 226 amf@spectrumsociety.org 
Sarah Woollacott 604-323-1433 x 113 sarah.woollacott@spectrumsociety.org