Shared Lives

Shared Lives

About Shared Lives

Shared Lives is where an approved carer shares their home and family life with you to give care, support and housing. You’d normally live in the carer's home, so you could describe Shared Lives as 'fostering for adults', but helping you to make the most of your independence.

Carers come from a range of backgrounds with different family circumstances, and get support and guidance from a Shared Lives officer who will make sure the home is suitable and safe.

We’ll do a background check on your carer before they’re approved and they’ll get training from us. We’ll make sure that you’re matched with a carer who you’ll get on with and you can visit them or have a trial stay in their home to make sure you’re both happy. You can stop the process at any time.

We might not have enough time to match you with a carer if you need emergency placement. If this happens, we’ll make sure that you have as much information as possible before you meet them.

Bristol Shared Lives information film

Help you can get

Shared Lives carers offer:

  • long or short term live-in support in their home
  • short breaks such as day care or overnight stays
  • support during the day from the carer's home

Your carer will invite you to join in their family life and community, including anything from doing the gardening together to going to a festival. They will help you to be as independent as possible with such things as your personal care, using public transport, doing the shopping or preparing your own meals.

Shared Lives carers can also help you to visit your doctor, take your medication and manage your money.

Who can use Shared Lives

You could use Bristol Shared Lives if you’re over 18 years old and you need help with everyday living or you already receive care services.

You could have:

  • learning difficulties
  • dementia
  • mental health issues
  • another disability

Become a Shared Lives carer

You could be a Shared Lives carer if you have:

  • a home that you own or rent
  • a spare room
  • lots of enthusiasm or previous care experience
  • the support of your household

You could work from home as a self employed carer and make a real difference to people’s lives while earning a fee:

  • short breaks: £50 per night
  • long term, lower needs: £350 per week
  • long term, moderate needs: £450 per week
  • long term, higher needs: £650 per week
  • day support: from £7.50 to £10 per hour

As well as offering support to the person you’re caring for, you’ll need to write brief notes on their progress such as achievements or setbacks. We use this information to help our social work reviews with you.

We welcome new carers from different backgrounds and you may have a partner, family or be single. You don’t need to have done relevant care work, as we provide full training and support to people with enthusiasm and informal experience.

We’re also looking for Shared Lives carers to help people with dementia. You can see a dementia training presentation as part of the Open Dementia Programme from the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

To become a carer, fill out the Bristol Shared Lives online form, or contact us at, tel 0117 903 6680.

After you contact us

A Shared Lives officer will visit your home to make sure it’s suitable and safe. They’ll give you an application form and support you through the assessment process. This includes checking your references with the Disclosure & Barring Service and asking for a medical report from your doctor. They’ll arrange any training you need and come with you on the courses to assess you while you receive training.

After this, the Shared Lives officer will report to the Approval Panel who decide if you are suitable. This is a group of four professionals such as social workers, who meet every month. You can go to this meeting if you want to.

If you want to appeal against a panel decision, the Shared Lives Service will guide you through the procedure.

Matching you with the person you support

You’ll be carefully matched with whoever you support so the placement works for both of you. We’ll tell you about their needs and introduce you both so you have time to get to know one another. They might visit you for tea, stay overnight or for a trial week.

We’ll only go ahead if you’re both happy and you can stop the process at any time without criticism or blame.

If a vulnerable adult needs an emergency placement, we might not have enough time to fully match you before the placement starts. If this happens, we’ll make sure that you have as much information as possible before you meet.


Our free Shared Lives training courses are different lengths and we’ll expect you to attend unless you’ve recently done the training:

  • moving and handling
  • fire safety
  • first aid
  • food hygiene
  • risk assessment
  • person centred planning
  • protecting vulnerable adult
  • medication
  • equalities awareness

Ongoing support

You’ll have a Shared Lives Officer allocated to you for guidance and support. They’ll visit you every week for the first weeks of a new placement, after which they’ll be in touch every couple of months and do an annual review.

During these visits, you can talk about:

  • any training you may need
  • health and safety
  • equalities issues
  • comments and complaints
  • accidents or incidents
  • your home
  • personal issues
  • any other support needs
  • Shared Lives updates
  • anything else you need to ask about

We can also help with paperwork, finances and benefits for the person you’re supporting, and reviews.

We’ll put you in touch with other Shared Lives carers as part of our local network.

You can contact any member of the team on or 0117 903 6680 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 4.30pm Friday. We also offer an out-of-hours Emergency Duty Service on evenings and weekends; call 01454 615165.

How Shared Lives is monitored

Your Shared Lives officer will visit you every three months to make sure the person you’re caring for is getting good care and support. Bristol Shared Lives as a whole is inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), but they won’t inspect your home. CQC meets some carers and service users to find out how they feel about the support they get from Bristol Shared Lives.

Insurance and Shared Lives Plus

We’ll arrange and pay for your carer’s insurance, as well as membership of Shared Lives Plus, a national charity that supports Shared Lives carers.

Membership benefits include:

  • information, guidance and legal support at any time
  • confidential support from professionals
  • the chance to make comments and suggestions on a national level
  • more training
  • events
  • newsletters

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