Retirees are not slowing down as stats reveal over 65s account for significant employment growth

Posted on 9 March, 2020

Pet Sitters 1

We’re all living and working longer. Office for National Statistics[i] figures released at the end of last year suggested that workers aged 65 and older will be responsible for more than half of all UK employment over the next 10 years and almost two-thirds of employment growth by 2060.

Speaking to the Guardian[ii] last year Stuart Lewis, the founder of jobs, volunteering and advice site for the over-50s, Rest Less said, “Our population is growing and people are living longer, healthier lives. Today’s over-65s are healthier and more active than previous generations and many who are fit and able to work tell us that they have no intention of fully retiring any time soon.

“People’s reasons for continuing to work post state pension age vary wildly. From those who are choosing to top up their pension pots while they still can, to those who want to keep working for the love of the job or for the health and wellbeing benefits.”

This has certainly been our experience. One role that is attractive to people after retirement is home and pet sitting, which is a flexible job that involves going to stay in people’s home when they go on holiday, taking care of the home and any pets.

The role suits responsible and active retired people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s who love animals. Most of our homesitters are in this age range and they have chosen to become homesitters for a whole variety of reasons.

For some it’s the chance to travel throughout the UK and explore areas they may not otherwise have done, for others spending time with pets is what appeals. Some people also don’t like the idea of just stopping work completely and want to continue being active and doing something useful when they retire.

Becoming a home and pet sitter can therefore be the ideal solution. People are able to slow down a bit and spend time enjoying their retirement, doing a few weeks here and there homesitting. We are happy for people to take on as many assignments as they wish to fit around other commitments.

The role has some financial benefits too as people get paid a small remuneration, plus they can make savings on their household bills if they spend a lot of time away on assignment. People can be based anywhere in the UK as we have clients all over the country which is another bonus.

It’s a sociable role too and is good for physical health, particularly as the majority of our homesits involve looking after dogs. There are plenty of opportunities for walking and getting out and out exploring new areas. We also have many couples that choose to do it together so being on assignment can be like taking lots of mini breaks together.

One of our homesitting couples who took on the role after retiring three years ago, are Peter and Julie Barnes from Gloucestershire who are both in their 60s.

Before retiring, Peter spent many years in the Armed Forces, including fifteen years in the Royal Marines before leaving to work in the printing industry. Julie was a swimming coach and a manager at a large leisure centre in Gloucester.

The couple wanted to do something adventurous in their retirement. Thanks to his military career, Peter was confident his background in discipline and security could be put to good use looking after people’s properties. The couple applied for the role and following an interview were employed by us.

One of their favourite parts of the job is travel and exploring new places. The couple especially love to spend time in the countryside because they enjoy walking and wildlife spotting.

Julie says, “We do a lot of homesits around the Cotswolds near where we live and really enjoy going to different places. One thing we’ve discovered is that even if we’re only going thirty miles or so from our home, it is very often to somewhere we haven’t heard of before!

“There’s a limited amount of exploring you can do while you’re working and we’re really enjoying discovering new places. Even going back to the same places at different times of the year is fun.”

The couple also love to spend time with pets. Peter is a dog lover while Julie likes spending time with cats and looking after chickens. They both enjoy walking the dogs together, and in particular, combining a long dog walk in the country with a pub lunch.

Peter says, “We can’t help but fall in love with the pets - they all have different characters. We looked after two black Labradors who loved to play in the snow, a Red Setter that tried to join the local hunt and a beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback who would sit and watch us read. We even looked after a parrot who would mimic Julie’s voice, so I would think she was in the room talking to me when it was the parrot.

“We never know what’s going to happen from one day to the next so we keep a travel journal to remind us of all the wonderful places we’ve been, the pets we’ve looked after and the people we’ve met.”

The couple earn a modest salary from homesitting which they put towards spending money for their holidays, but Peter says money was the last thing on their agenda when they enquired about a position with Homesitters - it was the benefits of the role that appealed most.

He add, “We’ve had several customers contact us after a homesit to tell us how relaxed their pets are after their time with us and to thank us for looking after them - that’s reward in itself.”

If you are retiring this year or have already done so, and are interested in a new challenge why not give homesitting a go? We’re always looking for new home and pet sitters. One of the key things about working for us is you are employed directly rather than working on a self-employed basis like with some other companies.

There are plenty of other benefits to joining our team too, including full insurance and backup whilst on assignment, the chance to visit new clients in their home before taking on the booking and the flexibility to choose when you work. For more information on the role and to apply take a tour around our website at



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