Life Sharing at Mainstay

By Nora Soule, Associate Director – Community Services
Life Sharing is a type of residential program that enables a person with an intellectual disability to join a provider family, in their private home, as a fully participating member of the family. This long-term living situation promotes choice and community integration, and the person supported gets to enjoy sharing life experiences, building mutual relationships, and learning responsibilities.
Sandra and Parriz have been Life Sharing partners through Mainstay since 2020.
Mainstay has been providing what is now called Life Sharing since before Mainstay was formed out of the merger between Idlewood Center and Horizon Homes in 1999. While Mainstay has been providing Life Sharing throughout its history, the program has seen a lot of recent growth. The service has become a popular alternative to traditional residential programs, and Mainstay has seen an increase in the number of referrals we receive for people interested in participating in Life Sharing or being a Life Sharing provider. We currently support 16 Life Sharing Partnerships.

Life Sharing can be provided by family members, which allows for a person to be reimbursed for the care and support they provide which may otherwise interfere with their ability to maintain employment. This is one of the many benefits of a new type of Life Sharing in PA for children with medically complex conditions. Children who quality for this type of Life Sharing typically have a chronic health condition that affects three or more organ systems and require medically necessary skilled nursing intervention. Mainstay recently became the first provider on the Western side of the state to become qualified to provide this type of Life Sharing.

This year, Elijah and Aleta became Life Sharing partners through Mainstay.
Gavin O’Marehen and Hunter Milroy, our two Life Sharing Managers, recently attended the PA Life Sharing Conference in Lancaster along with two of our Life Sharing Partnerships and were a part of highlighting one of our Life Sharing Partners with an award for Excellence in Life Sharing. We were thrilled to acknowledge this Life Sharing partner for all of her work, and we are consistently impressed by the quality of care and support provided by all of our Life Sharing partners.

Representatives from Mainstay at the PA Life Sharing Conference.

Ultimately, the most important part of Life Sharing is the people involved. Mainstay’s Life Sharing partnerships benefit both parties and involve people who are compassionate, supportive, engaging, motivational, and who bring each other meaning and inclusivity.

Interested in learning more about Life Sharing? Reach out to me at 412-915-5854 or NSoule@MainstayLifeServices.org, and/or Learn more here »