Shared Lives carer Terry wishes he had joined the scheme earlier than he did because of the number of benefits he has gained.

The Shared Lives scheme is run by Vivo Care Choices and offers an alternative to day services, respite care and residential care, matching carers with people they can share activities or their family life with. There are a range of opportunities in day, short-term and long-term care.

Terry has been a Shared Lives carer for nearly four years, making a real difference to the lives of the people he supports.

He said: “When you get to my age, it’s about giving something back to the community and this is a very good job to do that.

“Not only do you help people, but it also helps us carers both mentally and physically.

“The number one thing about Shared Lives is its flexibility as you can pick your own hours and there are a range of different sessions you can do.

“When you first support some people, they don’t want to leave their home and are giving up on life, but you can make such a big difference. They’re soon out and about in the community and loving life.

“I wish I’d have done this years ago because Shared Lives is a brilliant service.

“I’ve had so much support from the Shared Lives team. The managers and staff have been amazing with me and they’ve never made me feel under pressure.”

How to become a Shared Lives carer

A Shared Lives arrangement can only be successful if the carer is able to meet the needs of the individual and has similar interests to them. Vivo always carefully matches carers with individuals.

Meetings are arranged between the potential matches to make sure they are compatible and check everybody involved is happy to go ahead with the placement. All carers are subject to DBS checks and full training is provided before being approved.