In January, many people consider moving jobs or starting a new career. For retired people or those nearing retirement many may also be looking for something new to challenge them and top up their pension income. The cost of living crisis is hitting most people’s pockets, but for older people on fixed incomes some can be finding it a struggle. Going back to some sort of paid work is therefore an option.
Research at the end of last year from Royal London[i] revealed that 58% of people aged 55+ say they would consider working in retirement as a way to weather the current economic storm, nearly half (40%) say they would work if it enabled them to do more things they enjoyed and 45% say they would work if they were struggling to pay their bills.
This follows a survey in August from My Pension Expert[ii] which highlighted a growing trend to ‘unretire’ as people in retirement look to bolster their retirement finances by working again.
People may not be able to face the typical nine to five again but there are jobs such as becoming a home and pet sitter that can boost people’s pension income, as well as make savings on energy bills if they do lots of assignments during the colder months.
Homesitting is the ideal flexible role for people looking to do something different, get out and about more exploring the UK and also spending time with pets. It involves staying in people’s homes when they go on holiday, taking care of the home and any pets.
Home and pet sitting is a rewarding role and the chance to have lots of mini adventures staying in new places without paying for a hotel or B&B. As well as a modest remuneration, homesitters get a food allowance and mileage. Many of our homesitters use this extra money to enjoy occasional pub lunches out or put it towards a holiday fund.
One retired couple enjoying home and pet sitting are Sue and Gordon Heels who are in their mid-sixties and from Bedfordshire. They joined Homesitters Ltd over ten years ago when Gordon was preparing to retire from his job as an engineering technician for a communications company and Sue was still working at a local authority.
Having both led such busy life they were both quite apprehensive about how they would adjust to a quiet retirement. They thought that being homesitters might be the perfect role for them – a flexible form of employment that comes with responsibility and purpose.
Sue and Gordon don’t own any pets so one of the biggest attractions for them is looking after other people’s animals and in particular, dogs. They love dog walking and the fact it gives them a chance to get out into the countryside and keep fit, whatever the weather.
They also relish the fact that homesitting gives them a complete change of scene and a break from their normal routine. Living on a main road, they appreciate staying in homes in the countryside and one of their regular clients has a home surrounded by woodland and a range of pets to look after including goats, chickens, guinea fowl and a cockerel.
When they visit this client, they take daily walks through the beautiful woodland, which is thick with bluebells in the spring, sit and listen to the birds’ song and spend time star gazing at night as there is no street lighting. They say it is a real contrast to their normal life.
Sue said: “One of the things we love is that we do it together. At home we tend to do our own thing, but on assignments we work as a team and spend quality time taking the dogs for walks together. We go to church on Sundays and when we are homesitting on weekends we find a local church to attend. We’ve made new friends at churches across the country.”
The couple are also lucky to have a regular client with an indoor swimming pool they can use every day when they stay there. Many of the homes they’ve stayed in are beautifully decorated, including a grand Victorian house lovingly restored to its former glory.
Sue adds: “It was such a pleasure to sleep in a bedroom with a beautiful antique crystal chandelier. We don’t have much art in our own home but we’ve stayed in homes with beautiful paintings and sculptures. We have also met some really interesting and successful people, many of whom have become friends.
Homesitters is now recruiting new Homesitters for 2023. They are busier than ever after the pandemic years as more people have pets and are now back taking holidays and they are looking to double the number of home and pet sitters this year.
Homesitters Ltd are different to many other pet sitting agencies in that all the homesitters are employed and insured, and they provide 24/7 back up support for homesitters on assignment. Homesitters also meet clients and their pets beforehand to be briefed on the home and the pets’ routine to ensure the assignment goes smoothly.
For more information on becoming and homesitter, click here.