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What Shared Lives carers do

Shared Lives is very similar to fostering, but it’s for adults 16 years and older. As a Shared Lives carer, you’ll help the person you support to live a more independent and fulfilling life. You’ll invite them to become part of your family, either full-time (where they live with you 24/7) or part-time (maybe for one day a week or for respite care.) You’ll help them to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. 


It’s a unique and safe way to care for someone and it can look different for each and every person supported in this way. You might support people to:


  • Manage their finances

  • Get more involved in the community

  • Learn life skills like cooking, cleaning, shopping etc.

  • Make new friends

  • Enrol in education

  • Get out and about on their own

  • Get their dream job

“We do all sorts together: walks, gardening, bird watching, arts and crafts. We support people to enjoy their interests, and of course we enjoy it too.”

Steve - Shared Lives carer in York

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The matching process

The people you support are carefully matched to you on a number of criteria, to make sure that the placement is beneficial for both of you. This includes:


  • Home environment – some people may need downstairs facilities, wheelchair access, or may wish to be located close to their biological family/friendship groups.

  • Specific care needs – the people supported by Shared Lives include adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health needs and/or dementia. We want you to be confident in providing the level of necessary support for each individual, and will work with both parties to match on this key area.

  • Hobbies and passions – matches work best when people share common interests. It’s so much easier to share your life with someone who likes the same things as you. This could be cooking, sport, reading, bird watching, even going to music festivals, whatever you enjoy, we will work to match you with people who love the same things

  • Spiritual needs – Whether religious study/worship or holistic spiritual beliefs, we make sure the needs of all parties are considered, and are upheld throughout the placement


The most important thing to remember is that as a Shared Lives carer, you’re your own boss. This means that if you don’t want a role that provides personal care, in the matching process, you’ll be matched with someone who doesn’t need that level of support. And you’ll always have the chance to learn more about how to provide personal care if you want to later on.

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