Retirement is a life-altering moment for many. After years spent in the working world, we finally have the time to reflect on our lives and make some changes. Retirement can be a time to re-focus on ourselves and the way we operate in the world – a time to try new things and push ourselves in new directions. What better way to make a change than fostering?

At Orchard Fostering, we believe in building brighter futures – if you are a retiree interested in fostering, but unsure whether you can, read on. We’ve got all the information you need to make a decision about fostering while retired.

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We’re available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page. 

Can you foster as a retired couple?

Yes! Retired couples (or retired individuals) can foster with Orchard Fostering. Fostering is a full-time job – your retired status can be a great asset, as it allows you to spend as much time as possible caring for the child in your care. All that matters to us is your capacity for care – something we work with you on throughout our assessment process.

Why should I foster when I retire?

No matter your stage in life, you’re always able to create connections with others. Throughout our lives we continue to build important relationships and foster care is no different. After you retire, you may find yourself with more time – time you would usually spend surrounded by colleagues or co-workers building and maintaining relationships. Retirement can be difficult, sometimes – as we lose out on those day-to-day interactions.

Fostering allows you to keep building meaningful relationships, no matter your stage in life. You will build long-lasting bonds with the children in your care, as you work to provide them with a safe, comfortable and meaningful home. You will also become a member of the fostering community – a close-knit group of like-minded individuals, who will share experiences, advice and lots of stories with you throughout your fostering journey.

Can a retired person foster regardless of age?

One of the biggest misconceptions about fostering is that it is a young person’s vocation – this could not be further from the truth. At Orchard Fostering, we work with carers of all ages – from 25 on up. Provided you are over the age of 25 and capable of caring for children, you can foster with Orchard Fostering. We have had carers in their seventies who were as committed, dedicated and full of energy as our carers in their twenties and thirties. Fostering is not about age – it is about attitude. If you feel that you are capable of caring for a young person, then you are capable of fostering – no matter your age. Remember – it’s not about the age, it’s about you. There is a robust matching process in place in Orchard Fostering, this takes account of the applicant’s mobility and health status as well as their preferences for age range of children.

Foster care is a wonderful way to make a meaningful impact on the lives of children who need a safe and loving home. But the impact it makes on the lives of foster carers cannot be overstated either. Many people mistakenly believe that foster care is more suited to younger carers, but that’s simply not the case! Retirement is a time for change, growth, and reflection – and the good one can do by opening up their home often returns tenfold. For retired individuals, deciding to embark on a foster care journey can be an excellent way to form new relationships, re-engage with the community and revitalize their sense of meaning in life.

As a leading Irish foster care agency, we’re committed to supporting foster carers of all ages. Afterall, so long as you can provide a safe, loving home you can become a foster carer. Here, we outline some of the many benefits of being a foster carer for retired individuals who might want to consider foster care.

Form Meaningful Life-Long Relationships

Foster care is a life changing experience for both the foster carer and foster child. For retired individuals experiencing loneliness or isolation, this is a great way to form new and valuable connections. While fostering is a temporary arrangement, the relationship formed during this experience is often one that lasts a lifetime.

Re-engage with the Local Community

Retirement can be a difficult time for some as day-to-day connections are lost and it’s harder to keep engaged with their community. Research has shown that social connections are vital for the well-being of seniors, as they can reduce the risk of loneliness, depression, cognitive decline, and chronic diseases. Fostering is a wonderful way to find a community of like-minded individuals with something in common. With Orchard Fostering you’ll not only be automatically part of a tight-knit group, but you’ll receive training and support from a dedicated team of professionals.

Keep Learning

Children are constantly learning, and as a foster carer you will too! Foster care often inspires a carer’s creativity and curiosity. Young people express themselves through various forms including art, music, literature, and more. Getting involved with foster children’s interests is not only a good way to bond but allows carers to explore new interests and hobbies for themselves. Moreover, foster children come from many different walks of life, and can have different experiences and cultures. Sharing experiences can be valuable for both sides and foster carers can greatly benefit from learning more about the perspectives and insights from young people in their care.

Stay Active

Depending on the age and needs of the children and young people they care for, foster care can keep carers active in many ways. From walking foster children to school to picking up a ball and playing catch – having a foster child is sure to increase your step count and keep you more active than you could have imagined. Of course, at Orchard Fostering, we have a robust matching process in place which takes account of an applicant’s mobility and health status as well as their preferences for foster children’s age-range. But so long as you’re physically fit and able, participating in activities with your foster child is a great way to stay healthy and improve your physical activity.

Re-ignite Your Excitement in Life

Retirement is a rewarding stage of life. Nevertheless, some retirees feel a loss of identity or direction after leaving employment or their own children have moved out. Fostering can provide a newfound sense of purpose and meaning in retirement. Caring for a foster child is a brand-new challenge that requires flexibility, learning and motivation. This can be especially helpful for single retirees who may be lacking focus or routine.

Will fostering affect my pension?

Fostering payments are not considered to be a source of income by the Department of Social Protection. As such, becoming a foster carer in your retirement does not impact any social welfare payments you may receive – including pensions.

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We’re available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.