While we all expect to retire one day, we don’t often think about how we will spend our golden years afterwards. Retirement is a significant milestone to reach, and is usually accompanied by a significant mix of emotions. Some retirees may feel relieved to have more freedom and leisure, while others might feel disconnected from a sense of purpose. This is especially true if you’ve enjoyed working your entire life — but is working after retirement worth it?
If you’re looking to find purpose in retirement and build meaningful connections, the answer is undoubtedly yes. Exploring the path of foster caring could be an avenue well worth considering. There’s no upper age limit to foster, and your wisdom and life experiences could make you the perfect foster carer.
How Fostering Can Help You Find Purpose in Retirement
Fostering can help you with finding purpose in retirement in many ways. One of the most significant ways it does this is by giving you the chance to witness the incredible impact you can have on a child’s life:
1. Make a real difference
Through opening your home and your heart, you become instrumental in transforming a child’s life for the better. The joy of nurturing and supporting their growth can be incredibly emotionally fulfilling, especially if you are an empty nester or have never had kids of your own. It’ll also leave a mark on the world around you, as by being a foster carer, you are playing an active role in building a stronger community, inspiring others to give a child a chance.
2. Sharpen your skills
Additionally, fostering is a great way to use your skills and learn new ones. For example, if you have a professional background in working with troubled individuals or crisis management, you can use those skills through our emergency foster care arrangements. You’ll also be constantly learning as you go, as no two children are the same. As you progress as a foster carer, you’ll begin to notice how much more resilient and understanding you have become. At Compass, we also offer all our foster carers a broad range of training to help you develop your skills even further.
3. Build meaningful connections
Finally, becoming a foster carer helps you build meaningful connections. Depending on your personal circumstances, retirement can be incredibly isolating. If you don’t have many people around you, fostering can be a great way to change that. You shouldn’t be afraid of fostering if you’re alone, as you’ll be opened up to a wider fostering community who will provide you with 24/7 support. During your time as a foster carer, you’ll work closely with social workers and attend support groups with other carers, which are great places to share your experiences and troubles.
Can You Work After Medical Retirement?
In the UK, whether or not you can work after medical retirement depends on a variety of factors, including the specific circumstances of your retirement and the nature of your medical condition. Fortunately, a default or forced retirement age no longer exists. This means you have the right to work for as long as you want, but it’s important to consider what type of work would be right for you, especially if you have a medical condition.
Remember too that fostering requires a significant commitment of time, energy and emotional resilience. Before considering becoming a foster carer, it’s essential to determine whether your medical condition will enable you to meet the physical and emotional demands of caring for young people. A fostering agency like Compass can assess your case on an individual basis and ensure you are capable of providing adequate care.
What About Other Traditional Part-Time Jobs?
While retirees might look to more traditional jobs, there are several disadvantages of working part-time after retirement compared to fostering. Firstly, many traditional part-time jobs often lack the emotional and personal satisfaction that fostering brings. Unlike routine part-time jobs, fostering allows retirees to form deep and meaningful connections with the children in their care, providing a sense of fulfilment that can’t be easily replicated in other roles. Additionally, fostering allows for a flexible schedule, which can be critical for looking after your mental health in retirement. You can balance your commitments and enjoy your retirement, except you’ll also be making an incredible impact on the life of a vulnerable person.
Can Foster Carers Claim Pension Credit While Receiving a Fostering Allowance?
The good news is that our competitive Fostering Allowance will not stop you from claiming your pension. For a state pension, you can claim this and foster as long as you are over the state pension age of 66 years old. You can also do the same with a private pension, as long as you have reached the age agreed in your provider beforehand. You might also be eligible for various benefits, including Pension Credit, as your Fostering Allowance isn’t considered income. If you’ve already claimed your state pension, you can apply for Pension Credit on the GOV.UK website.
What Other Support Is Available for Retirees Who Want to Foster?
While fostering can be rewarding, it isn’t without its difficulties. In some instances, you might have a child under your care who is dealing with significant trauma. This can lead to challenging behaviour, which could take a toll on your energy and mental health. This is why at Compass, we offer respite fostering to all of our carers. Respite fostering is when foster children take a short-term stay with another foster family, to give their birth family or foster carers a break. Every foster carer with Compass is eligible for 14 days of respite per year, with 21 days offered with our therapeutic packages. Even if things aren’t challenging, it can give retirees who become foster carers a much-needed break to recharge their batteries.
Additionally, we also provide a wide range of support and benefits to our foster carers. This includes local support groups, as well as planned days out. If you’re retired and thinking about fostering, you can get in touch with the team at Compass Fostering to find out more.