Shared Living Model: Changing lives together

Shared Living Model: Changing lives together

Are you looking for a safe, nurturing living environment that provides your loved one with the opportunity to learn and grow? GoodLife’s Shared Living Model does exactly that!

In Shared Living (also known as Professional Family Teaching Model), an individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities lives with a carefully selected family in their home. One of the most appealing aspects of this family-style living arrangement is the consistent one-on-one care and support provided by the Professional Family Teacher. These highly trained professionals help the individual live a more independent and fulfilling life by guiding natural learning opportunities during everyday activities.

In this blog, we take a closer look at Shared Living, the benefits, and how it’s improving lives. Read on to learn all about this exciting and innovative housing option.

Benefits of the Shared Living Model

Shared Living is one of GoodLife’s long-term residential service options with relationships and learning at its core. This unique arrangement offers people with intellectual or developmental disabilities the guidance and care they need to live more independent lives. In a 2021 survey, parents and guardians of people in the program reported a high level of satisfaction, rating it 3.69 out of 4. 

Below are a few things that make the Shared Living Model unique and contribute to the happiness of individuals in the program.  

Developing deep relationships

In this family-style living arrangement, the individual and teacher share a home. Individuals build strong relationships with the family they live with and the people in their community. These supportive relationships foster a sense of belonging and enhance the individual’s quality of life.

Independence and growth

Through shared living, the individual learns from real-world experiences. They practice new skills and behaviors in everyday life and benefit from the guidance of a caring Professional Family Teacher. As a result, the person served increases their independence and confidence.


We’ve had many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities thrive long-term in this model. Our longest placement has been paired for nineteen (19) years, with the average placement being around seven (7) years. The stability and deep relationships formed in this arrangement provide individuals with the consistency and support necessary to achieve their goals. 

Professional Family Teachers

Our Professional Family Teachers (also called Shared Living Contractors or PFTs) are the heart of GoodLife’s Shared Living Program. They provide individualized attention and support, forming a close bond with the person they are caring for in their home. Their most important role is as a teacher, using natural learning opportunities to assist the individual in achieving their objectives and learning new things.

Professional Family Teachers are carefully screened and trained to provide high-quality care for individuals with disabilities. Many have previous experience working with individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. It’s common for a Shared Living Provider to know the person with disabilities and their family for many years and to have served them in other capacities before moving in together. This helps to create a smooth transition into the shared living arrangement.

What if my loved one’s needs change or the living arrangement ends?

Life happens. If things change and the arrangement ends, GoodLife will work with you to find a new living situation. Providers will continue to offer quality service during any transition period. We work together with parents and guardians and the PFT to find a new living arrangement that works for everyone and achieves the goals laid out for the individual served.

Learn more about the Shared Living Model

Shared Living provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to form long-term relationships, learn new skills, and receive high-quality care. It offers a stable and nurturing living arrangement that helps individuals reach their full potential and live their best life.

Interested in Shared Living for your loved one with intellectual or developmental disabilities? Learn more about GoodLife’s comprehensive application process on our blog and get a free checklist to guide you through the process. If you have additional questions or would like more information, please contact Nichole Reiske’s, our Director of Admissions, at ​nicholereiske@mygoodlife.org or 913-980-8135.

Next time we will explore the benefits and advantages of becoming a Shared Living Contractor, so stay tuned! You can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get each of our blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

Skip to content