Retiremove - Boost your sense of adventure and fitness by becoming a homesitter
Posted on 2 July, 2019
Having time to try something new is one of the joys of retirement. It’s also what attracts many retired people to home and pet sitting
According to Homesitters Ltd, the UK’s leading home and pet-sitting company, the top reasons people want to become homesitters are to meet new people, travel around the country and stay in different places and look after pets, which also keeps them fit.
Retired people also welcome the responsibility that comes with the role. Many have enjoyed busy careers and have an incredible work ethic and bring plenty of enthusiasm to bring to the job.
One such person is Roger Noon from Colne in Lancashire who has been a homesitter for 16 years and has 150 home sits under his belt. Roger is happy to travel across the UK to take on interesting assignments.
Roger says, “Homesitting is such a rewarding job – it allows me to spend time looking after dogs and exploring different parts of the country. I used to work at Rolls Royce which had very high standards of professionalism and I treat this role in exactly the same way.”
The fitness benefits are an added plus for many, especially for those who look after dogs. Research from the Journal of Physical Activity and Health[i] highlighted that dog owners are a third more likely than non-owners to get the exercise they need. As assignments can last several weeks a year, homesittters can derive similar health benefits if they are in charge of walking their clients’ dogs.
Even those who aren’t looking after dogs tend to walk more, as exploring a new area is all part of the role. Walking is one of the best low impact exercises for older people and it burns up to 200 calories an hour.
There are other tasks too such as light household duties, including gardening, which are also great ways to maintain fitness levels.
Often when people retire their social circle can diminish and this can be especially tough if you are on your own. Becoming a homesitter can be a good way to meet new people, including clients and their neighbours. Homesitting also offers a change from the normal routine and a different environment – and many report that it feels like a mini-holiday.
Homesitters looking after dogs tend to meet lots of people when they are out walking. A survey by Directline[ii] in 2015 found that almost half (46 per cent) of people surveyed found that walking a dog is the one of the easiest ways to make friends, and that 29 per cent of dog owners have met lifelong friends whilst out walking a dog.
One couple who started homesitting to try something new are Paula and Gavin Rose (pictured above) from Broadstone in Dorset, both 51 years old, who have been homesitters for three years since they retired.
Paula explained, “We wanted a lifestyle change - to live in different parts of the country and meet new people. We discovered homesitting and it sounded perfect. We love animals and are keen walkers, and being a homesitter involves travel and the new experiences we were looking for.”
Paula and Gavin take on around 12 assignments a year, varying from three or four days to a month at a time. They usually look after dogs and cats although they’ve also looked after chickens and a tortoise, and one of their assignments involved working at a hedgehog sanctuary.
“It was a really interesting home sit,” said Paula, “We enjoyed learning to handle and care for the hedgehogs. It’s not often you get to see these little creatures close up and we took great pleasure in helping with their recovery.”
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