Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Retired women find second wind as au-pair grannies

Retired women find second wind as au-pair grannies


While most au-pairs who go to work for families abroad are young women, Michaela Hansen thought the idea would also appeal to an older age group. The concept has developed into a unique and successful business.

Her female friends loved the idea immediately, says Michaela Hansen, but the men were skeptical. Who, after all, could possibly want to look after other people's children and not get paid for it? As it turned out, many would.

Various women between the ages of 45 and 76 have contacted Hansen. Most of them are single mothers, widowed or divorced, have grown-up children and are retired but still looking to keep themselves busy.

Experience over youth

Michaela Hansen got married and became a mother at a young age, which is why she never had the chance to work as an au-pair abroad herself. Now she is nearly 50 and already a grandmother, with her second grandchild due in the fall. She works as an independent PR consultant.

It was a television show that gave Hansen the idea of sending grandmothers abroad to work as nannies. "Why should only young women do this?" she thought. After all, older people can often do a better job because they have more experience in dealing with children - and they can cook.

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