Become a community carer

  • 24
  • Nov

Shared Lives is all about people sharing their lives, families, home and community with vulnerable adults who want to take a break, and need some help and support to live their lives to the full. It is a unique form of social care,
provided in local homes and communities. We speak to
Carol Maldon and Christina Baker about their Shared
Lives experience.

Carol has been a Shared Lives Carer since 2011. She explains: “Christina comes over every Monday and stays overnight. She loves arts and crafts, so we usually do something creative together and we might go to the library or shops to pick up a DVD for our movie night!”

Shared Lives is currently used by people with learning disabilities in Islington. Christina has Down’s syndrome and lives with her grandmother. She explains why time
spent with Carol is important to her. “It’s nice to have a break away from home sometimes. Carol is very nice and she’s a good cook. She’s my favourite carer ever. She’s my
princess!”

Matching people and carers

The type of support offered through Shared Lives varies according to the individual’s and carers’ preferences.
It can consist of occasional day visits to full-time living, and anything in between. The key thing is that it happens within the carer’s home. All Shared Lives arrangements are subject to a matching process to ensure carers and people using the service are compatible. Carol explains: “You both get the chance to say what you want or don’t want from the experience. It’s all very natural, like meeting a new friend for a coffee. Christina and I hit it off straight away. She’s kind and generous and quickly felt like a new
member of the family!”

Being a Shared Lives Carer

Shared Lives carers come in all shapes and sizes: families, individuals, couples. Work experience is not always necessary, as training and support is provided. Shared Lives carers are paid for their role. The amount of fees paid are carefully assessed on a case-by-case basis taking factors such the level of care required into consideration.

Carol explains how she got involved. “I cared for my severely disabled son David his whole life and later began fostering children with special needs. From there, I became a Shared Lives carer. You need to be caring, enthusiastic and sensitive to people’s needs and differences. I feel very blessed to have had so many amazing people in my life. Shared Lives is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience.”

For more information about Shared Lives or becoming a Shared Lives Carer in Islington, visit www.islington.gov.uk/sharedlives.

Alternatively, you can call 020 7527 2312 or email
sharedlives@islington.gov.uk.

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