I think the coronavirus pandemic has made a lot of people re-evaluate their lives and look at what they can change to enjoy their lives more. I would say this has been the case for me.
I’m a people person; I like getting to know people and making them feel at ease. If I can support someone to have a good day, become more independent or just take a break from their usual routine in a safe, fun environment so their loved ones can have a much deserved rest, then that really makes me happy.
It’s a lovely feeling when someone tells you they had a great time staying with you and don’t want the stay to end.
For the past 12 years I have worked in learning disability services and I have always found the jobs where I am able to directly make a positive difference to an individual’s life the most rewarding.
I used to be a support worker and I missed directly supporting people to live better lives. I wanted to bring back more of that in my life and I saw offering Shared Lives respite as a great way of doing that, so I became a carer early in 2021.
What makes Shared Lives so special for the customer? I think it is different for every person and their unique relationship with their carer.
With Shared Lives you can be yourself and authentically share your life with someone; the good and the bad which is how real life is. This can be an invaluable experience to customers and help them grow and learn.
Although it is early days in Verity’s placement with me, she has quite quickly felt that she has a safe place to go to and can be herself. She lost her Mum a few years ago and has missed having a woman to talk to. about things that affect her. She feels like I’m a friend she can confide in and do girly things with, like painting our nails, watching films and having a gossip. She really looks forward to her stay with me and she will text me in the week letting me know how she feels. She seems happier and has been video calling all her friends to introduce me and Dexter the dog- I think they want to come and visit too!
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