New figures just released by the Centre for Ageing Better[i] show there has been a big rise in the number of over 65-year-olds in work with more than one in nine now working, compared to one in 20 in 2000. The study found workers aged 65 and over, are mainly self-employed and working part-time, but the numbers working full-time are increasing.
This is a remarkable shift in the employment landscape that is moving away from the traditional expectations of people in or nearing retirement. It reflects changing demographics and people’s desire to continue working longer as many are fitter and healthier than previous generations.
Many are choosing a part-time or flexible option which enables them to balance their professional commitments with leisure time and family obligations. Homesitting can be a great choice for people looking for a flexible role and many of our home and pet sitters are in their 60s and 70s.
What do Homesitters do?
Homesitters take care of people’s homes and pets when they go away. It’s a job that comes with a multitude of benefits including the opportunity to travel throughout the UK and stay for free in people’s homes, and enjoy the company of pets.
It’s a responsible position and people need to be reliable and professional, but it’s something that both couples and single people alike can enjoy.
Getting out and about, seeing new places and meeting new people and their pets are a big part of the appeal. It’s also a great way to boost pension income.
What are the rewards?
Homesitters receive remuneration, a food allowance and mileage, plus they can make savings on their own utility bills especially during the winter months. As the role is flexible people can choose to do as many assignments as they wish to fit around their lifestyle.
One couple that have been homesitting for over seven years is Jim and Ros Slaughter, a retired couple from Chichester in their early 70s who wanted to do something a bit different but still purposeful in retirement.
“We wanted the freedom to travel extensively, visit new places and meet new people.”
Jim explained, “Getting a part-time job or setting up a business didn’t really appeal because we didn’t want to be tied into a routine anymore. We wanted the freedom to travel extensively, visit new places and meet new people.”
The couple are both sporty and active. Ros plays golf and is an avid gardener and both of them love walking and they are great animal lovers. One of their biggest attractions of homesitting was the opportunity to look after other people’s dogs.
The Slaughters now have six or seven regular clients located in Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Kent and the greater London area who invite them back four or five times a year. They like the fact that homesitting is very flexible.
They pick and choose their assignments and make sure they have time available to fulfil their travel plans. They have a place in Spain where they spend 10 to 12 weeks a year and love to travel there by car and stop in places on the way.
This year they completed their 75th assignment and still love the role. Jim said, “Home sitting is really fun but it is also purposeful. We can do it as much or as little as we like, combining all our interests together and the animals are the best part of all.”
What makes a good Homesitter?
We’re recruiting for new homesitters as we have a growing number of clients choosing to have their home and pets cared for by someone that lives in. Anyone can apply to work for us, but our employees do tend to share a number of characteristics. Typically, they are:
- Fit and active;
- Retired from a wide range of occupations or not in full-time / regular employment;
- Available throughout the year;
- Not looking for regular salaried employment;
- Homeowners, capable of carrying out a range of tasks around the home;
- Pet lovers, with proven pet-care skills and a genuine affinity for animals;
- Sensible and reliable;
- Good listeners, who are sensitive to our clients’ requirements.
If these sounds like you and you are keen to find a role to keep busy in retirement, take a look at our Become a Homesitter pages to find out more and how to apply.