Local care services, who are members of UK charity Shared Lives Plus, have reported a rise in numbers of people working from home and being paid to open their homes and families to people who need care and support.
In a reverse of typical social care services, the new roles, are the ‘ultimate lockdown job opportunity’ as they see carers provide innovative Shared Lives support in their own home – on either a long-term, respite or day-support basis. It’s an alternative to supported living or residential care, but based on shared interests, lifestyles and sense of humour.
Since October, four local Shared Lives schemes have assessed and approved a record 30 carers in three months, with 40 more people currently going through the assessment process. Schemes previously reported recruiting on average 10-20 carers a year, so the new figures are four times as much as usual.
As Covid-19 has changed working life, many more people want to work at home, with roles that are flexible around family commitments, more local, social and provide a stable income.
Usually the assessment process can take up to three months, but Shared Lives schemes have adapted with meetings going online and have intensified their work to offer more caring roles with a quality hybrid assessment process.
Alex Fox, CEO, Shared Lives Plus, says, “Our Shared Lives scheme members are working incredibly hard to respond to the demand of caring people who have reconsidered a change in lifestyle and see by becoming a Shared Lives carer, they can help someone flourish – even during lockdown – and get paid for it.”
‘I feel at home’ – Read the full story
For Nigel Hunter and Bridget Collins, who both have a learning disability and have been living with carer Emily Moody in Portsmouth, Shared Lives has been so important during 2020.
Nigel has lived with Emily and her partner Garry in Drayton for 10 years. The 62-year-old said: ‘I like living with Emily and Garry. I have been here a long time.
‘They take me on holidays and I am part of the family. I like my hobbies with Garry like darts and pigeons. I like days out with the grandkids too.’
He added: ‘I wanted to go to day service but Emily explained that I couldn’t because of the virus. It was OK because we kept safe at home. Emily gave us puzzles and games.’
Bridget, 61, agreed. She has been with the family for nine months. ‘I have only been here a little while but I feel at home,’ she said.
‘I like my room and I like living with Emily and Garry and I like living with the dogs. I like knitting and I like drawing. Emily helps me.
‘Emily explained about the virus. We went out for walks when we could. Emily took me. I’ve liked knitting, painting and crafts.’
Emily has been a Shared Lives carer for 12 years after being inspired by her mother-in-law who did the same.
The 53-year-old said: ‘It has felt different this year. Trying to explain how the virus can affect people was challenging.’
But she was hopeful the family could do more together next year. ‘I hope that we are able to have a holiday,’ she said.
‘I would like to take Bridget and Nigel on a short break to Butlins when safe to do so.’
Across the UK, there are 10,000 Shared Lives Carers supporting more than 15,000 adults, through 140 different schemes. The sector has grown by more than 30 percent in recent years. Local Shared Lives services are fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission, which consistently rates the model as the best quality and safest form of adult social care, with 95% of all Shared Lives schemes rated as good or outstanding.
There are currently 160 Shared Lives carer roles available before the end of March. Find out more about becoming a Shared Lives carer, get in touch.
These roles have been created thanks to emergency Covid funding from DHSC, distributed by the National Lottery.