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Lifesharing Through Family Living
In a Lifesharing setting, individuals live with a family or person in a private home. Lifesharing offers a stable environment where people can share experiences in a safe, nurturing, and caring household. Both children and adults with a variety of needs and challenges can be supported through Lifesharing.
The program, also known as “Family Living” (55 Pa Code §6500), officially began in Pennsylvania in 1982 with a family in Berks County who wanted to support their friend in their own home. To reflect the diversity of relationships in these living arrangements, “Family Living” became best known as Lifesharing to better describe the lifestyles and choices of the people being supported. Lifesharing through Family Living means living with and sharing life experiences with supportive persons who form a caring household. Lifesharing is recognized as being both a close personal relationship and a place to live.
Lifesharing offers an individual with a disability the opportunity to live with a family or individual who will support his/her desires and needs for an everyday life. Individuals supported in Lifesharing include children and adults with a wide variety of needs and challenges. Lifesharing enhances and enriches the lives of individuals by offering another residential living option.
Life Sharing is a unique opportunity for an individual to become part of a family while receiving all of the services to which they are entitled through the Title XIX Waiver program.
Lifesharing: Frequently Asked Questions
“What is Lifesharing?”
Lifesharing through Family Living means that an individual with intellectual disabilities (ID) lives, and shares life experiences, with supportive persons to form a caring household. It’s recognized as being a close personal relationship as well as a place to live. This alternative living choice offers an individual with disabilities the opportunity to live with a person or family who will support his or her desires and needs for everyday life.
“Who can participate in Lifesharing?”
Any individual with intellectual disabilities who receives consolidated waiver funding, whether or not they are already in another form of placement, is eligible to participate in Lifesharing. An individual with ID and physical and/or medical needs may also participate in Lifesharing.
“What are the benefits of Lifesharing?”
For the individual, they become a contributing member of a family, receive additional individualized attention, and develop trusting and caring relationships. For the provider, Lifesharing offers companionship, an opportunity to help another person, non-taxable stipend (earnings), and room and board payments to subsidize your household costs. To become a provider, you must be willing to open your home and your heart. The person will become part of your family as well as part of the community in which you live.
“How is an individual matched with a family?”
Passavant Memorial Homes takes pride in carefully matching the needs and preferences of the individual with those of the provider household. Common interests, hobbies, and beliefs are considered by all parties during the integration process. Both the individual and the provider must feel comfortable and be able to form a bond of trust. Passavant is blessed with families who are dedicated to including a person with intellectual disabilities in their household not simply as foster care, but as a real member of the family.
“What is expected of a Lifesharing provider?”
Passavant provides ongoing support and training to Family Living Providers to maintain the highest level of care. A Lifesharing provider agrees to:
- Complete all trainings, follow all the rules and regulations of Passavant Memorial Homes’ Lifesharing program, as well the rules and regulations of the individual’s county and Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs.
- Provide a safe, nurturing, and healthy environment in which the individual has choices.
- Assist the individual with personal hygiene, training in daily living skills, educational needs, socialization, recreation, meal planning and preparation, medication administration, transportation to community outings, work, and training programs, and or other activities as needed.
- To be part of the individual’s Team which consists of their biological family, their Supports Coordinator, their Passavant Memorial Homes Program Specialist, and, when applicable, the individual’s day program.
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