What is Shared Lives?

In Shared Lives, we match a person who needs long or short term support with an approved Shared Lives carer. 

Half of the people using Shared Lives move in with their carer to live as part of their household. Others visit for overnight breaks. It means that people get safe, personal care and support, in a place that feels like home.

Someone who visits or lives with a Shared Lives carer may be:

  • an older person living with dementia
  • a young person in transition from foster care
  • some with a learning disability or physical impairment
  • someone living with mental health

You’ll get to choose who you support, and they’ll get to choose you. Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience. You’ll get lots of training along the way. Your personality and willingness to help are more important than your previous experience.

People sat at a table having breakfast

Shared Lives users say they make friends and become more active with Shared Lives*:

  • 85% felt it had improved their social life and 89% felt involved with their community.*

(*My Shared Life online tool, March 2022)

Types of placements

Shared Lives care isn’t one size fits all. There are different types of support that a carer can provide.

There is flexibility in the type of care you provide, including:

  • live as part of your household - the person you support lives with you
  • short breaks and respite – overnight stays, weekend visits or a week or two

Who can be a Shared Lives carer?

Shared Lives carers come from all backgrounds and bring a wide range of experience with them. You don’t need previous caring experience. What matters is that you have the right qualities to welcome and support someone into your home.

There are some common criteria, you should:

•    be at least 18 years-old
•    have a spare bedroom big enough for a person to live in 
•    be a full-time resident in the UK or have leave to remain 
•    live in the Wakefield district
•    be able to give the time to care for person.

Your marital status, sexuality, gender identity, religion or ethnicity aren't important to us. It doesn't matter whether you're a parent, in work, living with a disability or if you rent or own your home, either.

Having a disability or condition won't prevent you from becoming a Shared Lives carer. You need to be able to give an adult the support they need without impacting your own health. We are happy to discuss your circumstances.

What if I’m a smoker?

This won’t stop you from becoming a carer. It may limit the people that choose to stay with you, as it may affect their health. Some people we support do smoke though, and in these instances, we match them with families that smoke.

Will a police record stop my approval?

Not always. We will consider the gravity of the offense, when it was, and your conduct since then. As part of the application process, we will ask you to declare any convictions or cautions.

Can my partner become a Shared Lives carer too?

Yes! Being a Shared Lives carer is open to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, in a civil partnership, married, straight, LGBTQIA. You are welcome, whatever your race or religion.

Experience and qualifications

You don’t need experience or qualifications to become a Shared Lives carer. It is more about your willingness to support and include someone in your home and community life.

When you are preparing to be a Shared Lives carer you will receive training you need. It will help you and your family identify and build upon the skills you already have. And develop any new skills you might need.

We always look at your experience, knowledge and skills to find the right placement for you. 

Some skills that can help make a good Shared Lives carer are:

  • being caring, nurturing and understanding
  • patience and honesty
  • energy and enthusiasm
  • being able to work on your own or with different people
  • willingness to learn and develop
  • a good sense of humour

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