Shared Lives carer

Shared Lives carers open their home and family life to include someone who needs care and support. It could be for a day, a short break, or to live with you as part of your family over the long term.

What is it?

Shared Lives carers open their home and family life to include someone who needs care and support. Shared Lives carers don’t have working hours like a care worker might – it’s all about matching people who get on well together so that it feels more like family life.

Shared Lives carers are self-employed and there would be an agreement about how much care you’re expected to provide - this makes it a flexible role.

What might the role involve?

Your role might involve:

  • supporting individuals with everyday tasks such as getting up or cooking
  • supporting them to learn new skills or how to live independently
  • assisting them to do social activities or get involved in the local community
  • going on holiday together
  • going to family parties and events

You could do this for:

  • a few hours a week for daytime visits
  • in short intervals such as a weekend or respite period
  • or you could support someone full time, where they come and live with you and become part of your family.

What skills do I need?

Everyone working in social care needs a good standard of English, as well as numeracy and digital skills. You will need to enjoy being at home and in your community, good at empowering others to solve problems and asking for help when you need it.

There are also some specific skills needed to work in this role. These include:

  • good communication skills
  • good organisational skills
  • patience
  • resilience
  • being flexible
  • time management

What experience and qualifications do I need?

Becoming a Shared Lives carer doesn’t necessarily require qualifications. What’s really important is that you’re a kind, compassionate and thoughtful person. Your employer might ask that you have qualifications showing good English and number skills such as GCSE A-C in English and maths. It might also be helpful to have a social care qualification such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care. Don’t worry if you don’t have these qualifications but are interested in getting them, you can work towards them once you start the job – but it’s not required.

How do I progress?

When you start in your role you should do an induction which includes training necessary for your role such as health and safety, first aid and moving and handling. You might also receive specific training such as autism awareness, communication skills or working with people with dementia, depending on who you would like to support.

Beyond this there could be opportunities to progress by doing a vocational qualification such as a Diploma in Health and Social Care or continuing a professional development qualification such as dementia, end of life, or autism care.

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