A flexible road to retirement

For older people looking to ease off on the road to retirement home and pet sitting enables travel, adventure and more time with pets.

Couple with dogs in countryside house


We’re all living and working longer. Research from Moneywise found that over a quarter (28%) of retired respondents still work part-time, a trend that looks set to grow with less than half of pre-retirees (48%) planning to give up work altogether when they retire.

There are many reasons older people want to continue working, from financial reasons to not wanting to just sit at home and do nothing.

One role that is growing in popularity for retired people is home and pet sitting, a flexible job that involves staying in people’s homes when they go on holiday, taking care of their home and any pets. An American retirement magazine  recently highlighted pet sitting as one of the best jobs for retirees, and research carried out by Homesitters Ltd found 82% of its homesitters said the role has made them happier in their retirement.

The attractions are many, including the chance for travel and adventure and visiting new places throughout the UK. With a base from which to explore, home sitting enables people to visit new places without the cost of accommodation.

One of the biggest benefits is the chance to care for people’s pets. 68% of homesitters say that spending time with pets is the thing they enjoy most about the role. Many have been pet owners previously, but since retiring find they don’t want the commitment of owning their own pet.

Home and pet sitting can be a great alternative. Many clients have dogs and people love the opportunity to do lots of walking and get out in the fresh air.

Travelling to new places

Peter and Julie Barnes from Gloucestershire are both in their 60s and became homesitters to do something adventurous in their retirement.

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

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

Julie says: “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 year is fun. We might stay somewhere in the winter when it’s cold and snowy, and again in spring when all the flowers are out, and it’s a totally different experience!”

The couple 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 dogs and especially combining a long dog walk in the country with a pub lunch.

Peter says: “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 – the benefits of the role appealed most.

He adds: “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.”

*Homesitters Ltd  has been in business for 40 years offering home and pet sitting services to people in England, Scotland and Wales. They are actively recruiting, if you are interested in becoming a homesitter please contact them through the website www.homesitters.co.uk or call 01296 630 730.


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