Two carers who say looking after others is ‘the best job in the world’ are encouraging others to take on the role.
Lindsay Wills and her husband Mark are long-term carers for two adults in Sheffield, as well as foster carers for three young people.
Sheffield Council is looking for more people to take the opportunity to change lives through their Shared Lives carer programme, of which Lindsay and Mark are a part of.
Lindsay said: “It’s like having the most amazing family. If you have some patience, and a sense of nurturing, then it’s great fun.
“You do need to be willing to get a bit out of your comfort zone, but you’re learning all the time. It keeps you young. I suppose it’s a kind of job, but if it is, it’s the best job in the world.”
Two adults with learning disabilities live with Lindsay, husband Mark, three foster children, and their small dog. Eddie, now aged 21, has been with the family since he was eight.
Lindsay said that their journey to becoming Shared Lives carers was a natural progression.
“We started out as foster carers, and then moved to fostering children with disabilities, so being Shared Lives carers is the most natural progression.
“At first it can seem daunting, having someone new in your home, but you soon get to be at ease with it. You get to know that person, and they become a part of your family.
“Above all, it’s fun. We’re always doing things, whether we’re away in the camper, doing our project in the garden or shopping at Meadowhall.”
Lindsay has joined Sheffield Council in calling for more people to become Shared Lives carers and says the family’s commitment to caring has been good for her birth children too.
She said: “My daughter is now working in care too. If she had a spare room, she’d be a Shared Lives carer.”
She added: “People are given training and ongoing support and paid a carer’s fee of £400-£450 per week, or £65 for a night’s respite care.”
In Sheffield, 47 adults are supported by a Shared Lives carer. Most of them have a learning disability and others have mental health or physical needs.
Carers make a variety of commitments, either as short breaks carers, long term carers, day Support Carers and more general support carers. Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/sharedlives or call 0114 273 5275 for more.