A group of four people in a garden

Meet Nick, a Shared Lives Carer from East Devon. Nick previously worked as a Nurse before becoming a Shared Lives Carer 14 years ago. Read more about Nick’s story below.

You share all aspects of each other’s lives, whilst still having a professional approach to work

Working as a qualified nurse, Nick would sometimes visit small care homes supporting adults with learning disabilities. It was here that he found out about the role of a Shared Lives Carer; one household sharing their lives, families, home, interests, experience and skills with other people who need some help and support. Being a Shared Lives Carer is so much more than a job, and very different to working in a professional setting. When you are working in your own home, you work in a very different, personal way, enabling you to achieve a lot. Nick currently supports three adults who share his home and has been supporting one of these individuals for 14 years.

Seeing the progress that people make is so rewarding

As a Shared Lives Carer, you experience so many big life events together, supporting each other through it. Seeing the progress people make is so rewarding, you get to see people accomplish things they never thought they could. There is so much opportunity for the people you support, making it a very fulfilling lifestyle choice.

Everyone you support will have their own individual wants and needs, so being adaptable is important. Nick’s day could involve a range of activities from gardening to arts and crafts, dog walking to watching dvd’s, and everything in between. There is routine around mealtimes, but often every day is different.

Being a Shared Lives Carer has its challenges too; it shapes how you live your life and what you do, it’s a big commitment. It’s very different from going to work and then leaving your job behind at the end of your shift, the responsibility always lies with you. But the benefits far outweigh this; welcoming someone into your home and supporting them 24/7 is so fulfilling.

You are autonomous in what you do

As most of the time you are working on your own, you are autonomous in what you do. A Shared Lives Co-ordinator is available to offer advice and support, and there are other Shared Lives Carers who you can reach out to, if you want or need this support. When you first become a Shared Lives Carer, you have a buddy to offer guidance and support.

If you are thinking of becoming a Shared Lives Carer, Nick recommends meeting other Shared Lives families to gain an insight into this, and to create a good network of support. Nick also found his background and previous experience in the care sector to be beneficial when starting this role.

If, like Nick, you’d like the adventure, challenge, and reward of becoming a Shared Lives Carer, you can find more information on our careers pages.