Although there is no upper age limit on fostering, looking after young people is going to require energy. This means that a reasonable standard of fitness should be maintained by foster carers. There can be times when being a carer can make considerable demands.
The benefits of being fit and staying active will result in an improved quality of life. In turn this will make the rewards of fostering so much greater for all concerned. Read on to discover some simple actions that can make a difference to the experience of being a foster carer.
Meet the challenges and reap the rewards of fostering
Whenever you read or hear anything about fostering children, you’ll often hear it described as being both challenging and rewarding. It also requires energy - emotional and sometimes physical. Keeping fit at any age is a good idea and certainly helps when it comes to dealing with challenges – and fostering can present many of these. Actively striving to stay healthy is an excellent example to set for children and young people – especially as fitness is now closely connected with establishing long term healthy eating habits. When children and young people come into foster care, it is not uncommon for them to have been neglected in a whole variety of ways: often this means having a poor diet over a prolonged period. Foster carers who set a good example in terms of exercise and diet – and then encourage their foster children to do likewise - are showing that they are interested and care.
Coping with stress-
At Rainbow Fostering we always remember that although so much attention naturally goes to the foster child or young person, it is important that foster carers have interests in their own lives – things that they can do that are important to them. The reality of fostering can mean carers have little time to devote to themselves. And when there is a lack of variety in life – whatever your occupation – stress can occur which may result in a sense of fatigue.
Over time, this can make it harder for a foster carer to do their best for the child or young person in their charge. If not addressed, this kind of stress can ultimately jeopardise a placement - which is not in anyones interest.
The benefits of exercise
Exercise is a great way to combat stress. Although we are keen to recruit younger foster carers, many foster carers are over the age of thirty five - with some in their sixties and seventies! This means that exercise has to be planned and it is advisable to consult your GP before embarking on a programme to get fit.
Our recommendation is to consider taking up Yoga. It is a very ancient form of exercise which originated in India some 5,000 years ago. It aims to develop flexibility, strength and breathing control to increase levels of physical and mental well being.