Sixty Plus Surfer - More Retirees are Choosing to Work

Posted on 21 November, 2016

Homesitter Ros Slaughter relaxing and reading on home and pet sit

Recent ONS figures highlight that 10 million over 50s are currently employed, and insurance company Aviva predicts that by 2024 workers aged 50 and above will become the largest group working, representing one in three of all employees.

One option growing in popularity for retired and semi-retired people is home and pet sitting - earning money whilst looking after people’s homes and pets when they go away. The role appeals because of the flexibility it offers and the chance to explore different parts of the UK.

Alan Irvine, Chairman of Homesitters Ltd says, "For many retiring is about a new chapter in their lives and the opportunity to do something completely different. Most of our homesitters wanted a role that is both responsible and flexible, and more about the experience than the money.

"Whilst homesitters receive a modest remuneration, most don’t do it for the money, but rather the chance to stay in wonderful homes and see new places throughout the UK. Many also enjoy the role as they love caring for animals. They may have been a pet owner and get great pleasure in taking care of someone’s dog or cat for a few weeks," adds Mr Irvine.

One retired couple in their mid-sixties who decided to become homesitters are Sue and Gordon Heels from Dunstable in Bedfordshire. Both had had busy careers, Gordon as an engineering technician and Sue working at a local authority dealing with troubled teenagers.

They were apprehensive about adjusting to a quiet retirement and were keen to put their skills and experience to use. Becoming homesitters was the ideal option for them – offering flexible employment with responsibility and a sense of purpose.

The couple don’t own any pets so one of the biggest attractions of the job is looking after other people’s animals and in particular, dogs. They love dog walking as it gives them a chance to get out into the countryside and keep fit, whatever the weather.

Another unexpected benefit for the Heels is spending more quality time together. Sue explains, "One of the things we love about home and pet sitting 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."

Another lady, Ann King combines being a part-time editor with being a homesitter. She works from home, is a cat and dog lover and can easily just pick up her laptop and work in different places.

Since 1996 Ann has been home and pet sitting for a regular client based near Hampton Court, but she has also been offered interesting home sits as far afield as Scotland. Ann’s regular assignment in Surrey has become a real home from home and the client has become a great friend.

Homesitters Ltd was set up over 35 years ago and has over 1,000 homesitters throughout the UK who work directly for the company. They provide full support including employer’s liability insurance, public liability and professional indemnity cover and 24/7 telephone assistance for homesitters on assignment.

Alan Irvine, Chairman of Homesitters Ltd adds, "Business is growing fast and we have clients all over the UK therefore we are always looking to recruit more homesitters. If you are responsible, enjoy seeing new places, and caring for animals, and are keen to take on a new role in retirement then we’d love to hear from you."

People interested in becoming a homesitter can contact Homesitters through their website at

For further information about working after the age of 60 click on

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