Starting a new career in your 50s is the perfect time in a lot of ways. You have the life experience, the vast skill set, and the world knowledge to excel in your chosen area.
There are lots of reasons to begin training as a foster carer at this age because you have so much to offer to a child in need of support. You may have had children of your own that are all grown up, or even still living with you. You might have never explored parenting in any capacity. It doesn’t matter, as long as you have the motivation to live up to everything that this role entails.
What does being a foster parent mean?
Becoming a foster carer means that you will look after children who have been displaced from their families by the local authority because of a concern regarding their welfare or an inability to meet their needs. You will provide food, shelter, nurture, and whatever they need until they either A) return to their family or B) move into a long-term foster placement (which could be you) or adoption.
Find your local fostering agency
Interested in fostering children in the UK? We train and support foster parents across England and Scotland, and provide positive family experiences to hundreds of children in foster care. All of our offices are rated as 'Outstanding' or 'Good' by Ofsted.
Find your local office by entering your postcode below.
Your professional experience counts
Regardless of your career so far, you can draw upon that experience and transfer it directly into a fostering scenario. Foster carers are often called upon to explore all their past lessons when preparing to foster a child.
Time management, teamwork, conflict mitigation, problem solving, logical thinking, empathetic reasoning, patience, assertiveness, the list is endless. It is one of the most perfect Alternative Jobs For Medical Professions, for example, because not only do you have a niche background in medical practices and therefore are better able to advocate for and recognise health needs, but you also have experience with a range of children from all different backgrounds.
You have the space
If your own children are all grown and moved out - or maybe you never had children - and their old bedroom or spare room is sitting doing nothing, you could use that in a positive way to make a meaningful impact in the life of someone small.
All foster children require their own bedrooms. You don’t have to give them their own bathroom, but a bedroom is extremely important for their needs and well-being. This room needs to be not locked but fully secure, and somewhere that they can customise (within reason) if they want to. There has to be storage, a comfortable bed and mattress, a desk for activities ir homework, and all the basics you would expect for your own kids or yourself. Houses with more than one unused bedroom could even offer care to a sibling group, as there are many out there and massive benefits in keeping siblings together wherever possible.
Mental resilience factors
This isn’t to say that people who struggle with their mental health cannot foster, but this role is a demanding one. Therefore, it has to be taken seriously and all the factors fully accounted for in order to give both you and the child the best chance possible at succeeding. There will be turbulent times. There will be challenging behaviour moments to overcome. There will be moments where you’re pulling your hair out thinking what have I signed up for? Just like regular style parenting!
However, what pulls you through is a resilient mind and the motivation to do what you set out to do. This child is going to test your boundaries because they don’t trust you yet. It is your job to build that trust and show them through your resilience that they, too, can be resilient in the face of adversity. Healthy environments with positive emotional role models enable children to grow into the best versions of themselves and nurture positive relationship building. Fostering is hard, but it is indescribably rewarding.
How do you know if you’re ready to foster?
There is no right or wrong answer as to when it is Time to Start Fostering. The best moment for you will look different to the next person. Ultimately, the decision will come when it feels right and you will only figure this out by exploring the process. There are some important prerequisites for any carer that are fairly universal across all agencies, both private and government-backed:
- You need a spare bedroom for the child
- You must be aged 21+
- You must have the legal right to live and work in the UK
Why changing careers at 50 is an exciting adventure
An exciting adventure is a phrase more commonly associated with a big trip. However, there are lots of adventures you can set up at home too, and changing career is definitely a big exciting thing. Here’s why.
You’re never too old to learn something new
It’s a bit cliché, but the sentiment stands. Your brain is not finished yet. Learning something new is rewarding on a personal level but also on a wider societal consideration as well. Your place in this world is constantly changing, and it is your right to invest in your learning and growth for as long as you feel capable. Age is just a number in this context!
Finding a new passion
Lots of people reach 50 and feel like they need a spark of joy. This is why rediscovering what makes you feel passionate is of utmost importance. It will boost your mental well-being and your physical health too. Plus, it’s always nice to have something to be excited about and driven about.
Stimulating the mind
People who keep their minds busy are less likely to develop memory and cognitive problems later in life, and nurture positive mental health habits too. Your brain needs looking after, and your mind needs outlets. Changing career can be a big stimulation as you navigate everything that entails.
Staying active in your story
Every life on Earth is different. Your story is yours and no one else's. Though you might influence people and have connections and meaningful impacts, your story is the one being written by you. If you are needing a new chapter, staying active by creating a new path to explore is an amazing feeling.
Why older foster carers have the advantage
That isn’t to say that younger carers don’t know what they’re doing. Young carers can be amazing in this role, but as you age, you naturally learn more, feel more, and develop a broader mind. This is, again, not true of everyone, but there is a general sense of resonance with the sentiment. Whatever you have done in life so far, has brought you to consider fostering (given you’re doing the research). There are a hundred reasons why people generally should foster, but those over 50 have a unique life experience advantage that, perhaps, others do not.
Starting the fostering journey in your 50s opens up so many opportunities. You will be setting foot in a brand new arena filled with rewarding sentiment and real, impactful change in your own front room. The life of a foster carer is sometimes turbulent, and there are plenty of different paths to take, but ultimately the good outweighs the bad. Fostering has a special way of becoming an integral part of who you are.
Can't find what you're looking for?
One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.
You can get in touch by filling out our online enquiry form with any queries that you may have.
Your local team
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