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Meet the carer
Mary – a shared lives carer
My husband and I came to London from Spain. We have 2 sons and, as most of our family still lived in Spain, it was difficult to get help with childcare. I wanted to stay at home with my sons, the dog and look after the house, but I also needed to work.
My next door neighbours were shared lives carers and suggested that we apply to become carers. We had a spare bedroom, and the worker came to see all of us.
We were assessed and so, 20 years later, I’ve looked after 15 people, who either have learning disabilities or ill mental health.
My longest person stayed for 9 years. The boys grew up with her – she was in her 70s when she left to go to a nursing home. I really cried when she left, she was really lovely – I missed her – I treated her like my mum. We still visit her now.
I really like Christmas, Easter and other family events. I like everyone to be around the table with us, I give everyone presents and treat them like my family.
Everyone is family to me. It can be hard sometimes to motivate a person to be more independent. I have to keep encouraging them to do things. I get frustrated if I think something is wrong for them, and they do not have the words to tell me what it is that’s upsetting them.
We need shared lives in Spain – perhaps we can start it over there.
Find out how you can become a shared lives carer.