Research this year from Aviva[i] suggests that four in five (80%) over 65s liked the idea of working through retirement, and that continuing to work in later life can improve people’s mental and physical health, boost their wellbeing, and can keep loneliness and isolation at bay. Increasingly, the desire to work after retirement age is prompted by money worries, with latest data from the Office for National Statistics suggesting the cost-of-living crisis is putting retirement out of reach for many with a record 1.5m over 65s still in the workforce, and more than one in ten either in work or job hunting in the three months to April[ii].
But this is welcome news for Homesitters Ltd who is actively recruiting individuals and couples who are retired or in part time employment, and readily available, to employ as home and pet sitters.
Ben Irvine, Director of Operations at Homesitters said: “Many people spend up to a third of their life in retirement so keeping busy and doing something purposeful like homesitting can make sense financially and health wise. This flexible and fun role can boost a pension income and contribute to wellbeing as it offers the opportunity to travel in the UK, meet people and spend time with animals. Our homesitters tell us they feel happier and better off through homesitting, with some wishing they had known about the role sooner.”
Sue and Gordon’s Story
One such couple is Sue and Gordon Heels, an adventurous duo in their mid-sixties from Bedfordshire, who decided to embark on a new chapter in retirement as Homesitters after seeing the role advertised. At the time, Gordon was preparing to bid farewell to his engineering technician job at a communications company, while Sue continued her work at the local authority, where she compassionately helped troubled teenagers. Both were approaching retirement with apprehension, wondering how they would adjust to a quieter lifestyle.
Homesitting seemed like the perfect solution – a job that offered flexibility and variety, the chance to travel but also a sense of responsibility, and a clear purpose.
Despite not having any pets of their own, they were thrilled at the opportunity to care for other people’s animals, particularly dogs and relished the joys of dog walking in the countryside as a chance to stay fit and active, regardless of the weather. Also, the variety of assignments gave them a regular change of scene, a refreshing break from their usual routine, and an unexpected chance to spend more quality time together.
When on assignment, Sue and Gordon still managed to attend church services on Sundays which has led to them making friends in different part of the country and even being invited to community dinners and events.
Homesitting also offered surprises, such as having access to a client’s indoor swimming pool daily during their stays and, many homes were not only comfortable but also beautifully decorated with stunning art works. One memorable stay was at a grand Victorian house lovingly restored to its former glory, complete with a stunning antique crystal chandelier in the bedroom.
Far from having a quiet retirement, Sue and Gordon’s decision to become homesitters has allowed them to be adventurous, become closer and explore their love for animals, and build friendships across the UK.
Ben adds: “We are currently recruiting and are looking for sensible and reliable people like the Heels to join our team. Proven pet-care skills and a genuine affinity for animals is a bonus too. In return our homesitters receive a modest remuneration, a daily food allowance and they are reimbursed for mileage when they travel to and from an assignment. Homesitters equally make savings on their home utilities while away from home and on assignment.”
For more information and to apply to become a homesitter visit: www.homesitters.co.uk