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“Working as a nanny means I still feel valued as an older person”

Annie, 58, was made redundant at 51, and had never considered working as a nanny - but now she can’t imagine a more perfect match for the life skills she’s acquired.

Within the next six years, more than one in four of the UK population will be over 60 and there’ve never been so many opportunities for people of our generation who, just a few years ago, would have been encouraged to start ‘winding down’ and ‘settling into old age’.

“I feel far too young even to think about retirement!” says 58-year-old Annie. “When I think back to what my granny was like when she was nearing 60, I think of this sweet, slightly doddery old woman, but it’s very different nowadays. I do yoga with my friends every week, I love cooking, theatre, travelling… I don’t feel any different from when I was 35!” The only issue that Annie’s aware of – and it’s a sentiment her friends share – is how she’s perceived now that she’s older. “I don’t feel old, whatever that means, but I don’t feel as valued as I did when I was younger,” she admits. “After I was made redundant, no one would hire me, even though I had bags of experience.”

Annie is far from alone in feeling like this. In fact, a shocking 76% of older people in the UK believe that this country fails to make good use of their skills and talents*. Annie had never considered working as a professional nanny, but once she started looking into it, she couldn’t imagine a more perfect match for all the life skills she’d acquired, both in the workplace and while raising her family. And she’s not the only one…

“Looking after children is such a joyful, fulfilling career,” agrees Jill, 62, who was a full-time mother before becoming a nanny five years ago. “Spending time with young people makes me feel alive – they’ve brought me a level of happiness I didn’t know was possible and it’s something I’m good at; I’ve got more patience as I’ve got older and I’m calmer, too. Nothing fazes me!”

The value that people like Jill and Annie bring is corroborated by a survey conducted by Nannytax in 2014, which states that ‘parents want nannies with greater life experience or who have raised a family of their own’.

“Being older, I realise the importance of teaching children guidelines, manners and rules,” agrees Susie, 53. “I enjoy showing them how to cook, how to do stuff. This is real life; there are skills kids need to learn.”

It’s a sentiment that Clare, 62, who retired from nursing at 60, can empathise with. “I wasn’t remotely ready to stop work, so started looking for new opportunities,” she explains, “but no one would hire me. Why? Because of my age. Becoming a nanny, spending time with little people, has given me a new lease of life, a sense of purpose I never knew existed.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about becoming a nanny, visit www.grannyasnanny.co.uk  or telephone 020 7326 4789 

  *‘Later Life in the United Kingdom’, April 2018, Age UK survey
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