There is an increasing number of men and women who are choosing to foster children at an age when they could be forgiven for easing back in life. Becoming an ‘empty nest’ or ‘retirement’ foster parent certainly isn’t without its stresses, but it can transform many lives.
Retirement can be a difficult time, losing out on day-to-day interactions with work colleagues, and with families all grown up you can be at a loss of what to do with your new found time. Fostering allows you to keep building meaningful relationships, building long-lasting bonds with the children in your care, and providing them with a safe home.
Many people think they are too old to foster and wonder if they would be approved. However, age isn’t a barrier to fostering. In fact it can give you as well as a child a new lease on life. A foster parent needs to have a lot of patience and tolerance and it’s fair to say that of people with a larger amount of life experience – resilience, empathy, and patience. It is these core skills, life experience, and a genuine desire to help others that we look for in foster parents. The retired status allows you to spend as much time as possible caring for the child in your care, which is a great asset.
Rather than become a full-time foster parent, you could also specialise in short-term respite care, where children come from their other foster parents, so their full-time carers can have a break. Whether you’re thinking of short or long term fostering there will be no two days alike. You can expect your home to be filled with fun, laughter, and occasional tears.
As long as you feel fit and well and believe that all children deserve to feel safe, secure and loved then you’re ready to take the next step. With your patience and care, the smallest achievements will bring the largest of rewards. Retirement could be the time to try new things and push yourself in a new direction.
What better way to make a change than fostering.