How to make caring visible, valued and supported

 

In 2022 Carers Week celebrated a new theme that shone a light on the health and wellbeing of all of the amazing carers.

We wanted to keep this conversation going, looking at how you as a carer can take steps to keep your health and wellbeing a priority. And for those that are around a carer, how you can help support these amazing individuals with their work.

Finding support from those around you

As you step into your role as a foster carer it’s important that you are able to ask for support, help and guidance whenever you need it. We like to make sure all our carers feel like a part of a wider community so that they never feel alone on this journey, but having people around you who can also help is essential.

Some of the ways your family and friends can help you in your foster care role are:

 

  • Being open and available at short notice. There will be times when an emergency will crop up that needs to be taken care of and having someone or a group of people you know you can turn to at the drop of a hat can help ease the stress and panic in an unpredictable situation.

 

  • Working with you to welcome new children to the wider family. There’s nothing quite like seeing a child in need of a loving environment being welcomed with open arms by those you love and admire. Your family and friends can support you and your foster child by simply being accepting of all those that join your new family.

 

  • Being available when you need to take a little break. Whether it’s taking the kids out for the day or just watching them for a few hours, having people around you that can offer you a break to take care of yourself, can make all the difference to you and your foster child’s happiness and wellbeing.

 

  • Helping you to normalise foster care. As of March 2021, there were around 45,370 fostering households in the UK so fostering is not as uncommon as it may first appear. Your friends and family can help to support both you and your foster children by making everyday life as normal for them as possible. Having this normalcy will not only help your children to settle into their new placement but also help you feel supported and seen.

Why mental wellbeing is so important for carers

There is a saying. ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ and this has never been more true than with the role of a carer. Looking after yourself and making sure to do things that put your wellbeing first is integral to being a good foster parent or care.

Caring for others comes with a whole new set of challenges that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in regular everyday life. Not only do you have to keep yourself in tip-top condition, but you will also have the added pressure of monitoring and maintaining the health and wellbeing of others. To do that, you’ll need to be able to know:

 

  • When to take a break
  • When to ask for help from friends and family
  • When to seek support from other carers & your fostering agency
  • When to access the financial support offered to fosters
  • How to be open and honest with yourself and everyone around you

 

Becoming a foster parent is one of the most rewarding positions you can take on, but it’s not an easy one. Here at Olive Branch Fostering we pride ourselves on ensuring all carers are happy, healthy and ready to care for those that need it.

Find out more about Carer Week or read more about what it takes to become a foster parent here.