A new survey of 12,000 over-50s from Saga[i] highlights that many older workers don’t want to retire – with four out of five saying they would like more flexible hours and 73 per cent want more part-time opportunities.
The Saga survey backs up official figures from the Department of Work and Pensions[ii] showing people are working longer than ever before, with Britain’s average “exit age” from employment surpassing 65 for men for the first time, with women closing in.
Financial issues and the fact people are living longer is partly behind this trend, but many appreciate the physical and mental wellbeing benefits of staying in work and continuing to contribute to society is a key factor too.
Alan Irvine, Managing Director of one of the UK’s leading home and pet sitting companies, Homesitters Ltd says this trend is leading to older people seeking out alternative, more flexible types of employment such as home and pet sitting.
Mr Irvine says, “Home and pet sitting suits active retired people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s who love animals but want a flexible form of employment. The role offers the chance for people to travel throughout the UK, stay in fantastic homes in rural and urban locations and care for a wide variety of pets.
“It’s a sociable role, plus it’s good for physical health. Many of our homesitters look after dogs that need walking or other animals. Being in new places also encourages people to go out and about exploring. The role is flexible and people can choose to do as many assignments as they wish each year, fitting around other commitments.
“Homesitters receive a modest remuneration to supplement a pension, a daily food allowance and travel allowance. People can also make savings, especially in the winter, on their own utility bills if they spend a lot of time away on assignments,” adds Mr Irvine.
Anne and George Smart from Peterborough in Lincolnshire became homesitters once they had retired. Before retiring Anne had been a lawyer in Cornwall and George owned a restaurant and a pub in Lincolnshire. They met fifteen years ago and married two years ago.
The couple share a love of animals and both owned dogs and cats throughout their lives but no longer wanted the responsibility of pet ownership. They have been homesitters for ten years and have done a wide variety of assignments over the years with many repeat clients.
Anne says, “We love home and pet sitting. We receive remuneration and expenses which boosts our pensions. It really saves on our own household bills too, especially in the winter. However, the best thing about it is spending time with the animals. We also really enjoy meeting nice people and staying in beautiful houses.
“We once stayed in a Tudor manor house where the gardener asked us if we’d seen the resident ghost! I’m relieved to say that we never saw the ghost and that house became one of our favourites. Over the years we’ve become friends with many of our regular clients too.”
Anne and George have found a whole new lease of life together in retirement through their marriage and home and pet sitting which allows them to spend lots of quality time together.
Alan Irvine adds “We are keen to hear from people who think they would make great homesitters. We encourage older people looking for a fresh challenge and flexible employment in 2019 to get in touch.”
Homesitters is currently on a winter recruitment drive to recruit enthusiastic and reliable people to join its expanding team of home and pet sitters across the UK.
For more information on becoming a homesitter and to apply please visit: www.homesitters.co.uk