After retiring from a 35 year teaching career, I was looking for a flexible way to work.
I was keen to be doing something rewarding and thought Shared Lives was a good fit. Now I've been a carer for 7 months and I provide day support for 5 different men between the ages of 40 and 80, for a mix of 2, 6 and 8 hours a week.
Placements with different people give me different things, but I do get a lot of enjoyment out of being able to go out and support people to do what they love. I am grateful to be doing a job where I get a lot of positive feedback because everyone I work with likes doing things with me as much as I enjoy it - I'm taking John to see a football match soon!
Shared Lives gives people mental and emotional support and people are put at ease because they know I am just there to listen and not to take notes.
I can see the impact the scheme has on people's lives by some of the feedback I've had:
“He takes me out”
“It makes me happy”
“We watch football on the telly”
Among the challenges for me have been the concerns I felt around my experience when I started, as I hadn't done a care role before. This evaporated quickly once I started working though! There are also some limits to the hours I can work which does limit my income.
From a personal point of view, I'm always happy to go to work and get to do something rewarding and generally with little stress. The flexibility of the working hours is a plus and I really enjoy working with people who appreciate my support.