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Older people please apply

by Brian

As a result of some choice exposure on Canadian day time news TV, Brian, a Canadian blogger and self-professed ‘old fart’ found MindMyHouse. Judging by this enthusiastic review of our service he liked what he saw! Brian is on a mission to decipher what could be a bewildering range of new technologies for his audience of so-called ‘baby boomers’. By boomer we mean those born in the West between 1946 and 1964. We think that Brian’s readers (older folk who are keen to get the most out of new technologies such as the internet) are right up our street!

September 26, 2007

We love to travel but after the initial thrill of planning a trip, we always think, “What do we do with the cat?” A 5 week trip to Thailand earlier this year cost close to $1,000 for the comfort of knowing that he was well looked after. Compound that with stopping the mail and newspaper, setting up night lights, imposing on a friend to keep any eye on the house and do the odd walk through to ensure you meet your house insurance criteria is met and it’s all a pain in the posterior. Next trip however, I am going to be using to find someone who likes loves cats and an ocean view near Vancouver and is willing to live in my house and take care of both cat and house. They won’t charge me and I won’t charge them. And I may even go and house sit somewhere halfway around the world as my vacation.

Now you might say “But how do you find someone trustworthy?” Obviously you are going to have to do some due diligence and the site not only has a wealth of information on how to do that, they even have sample agreements you can download that covers all aspects of responsibilities for both owner and sitter.

I liked their website immediately because of my 3 “must haves”, clean and simple design, easy navigation and a larger than normal text font for older eyes. It really does a superb job of telling you everything you need to know about both sides of house sitting. Many of the house sitting opportunities are not listed as it is incumbent upon the sitter to list their services and then owners search through them and make contact. However, some owners do list their requirements for all to see and there is even a world map that shows you where assignments are available. I could go on and on praising the New Zealand based site but I strongly recommend you have a look for yourself. It’s free to sign up right now but I think this is a service that many users who are serious about house sitting wouldn’t mind paying for.

Finally, I think this is a great service for boomers and seniors. We have more time available as we retire or semi-retire and take longer vacations, The thought of looking after a home and a couple of animals on the English moors, the Spanish Pyrenees or the coast of Florida for example, for a few weeks or even months for the cost of airfare and some utilities will be very inviting to many.

The site owner, Susan Holtham told me “that our home owner members (no matter what their age) routinely ask for older, mature, senior, retired applicants in their sitter wanted listings. The over-50s seem to get all the best assignments! In fact, we haven’t added an advanced search function to our site yet, as we don’t want home owners to be able to search our database of house sitters by age as we are sure they will immediately screen out the under-50s!” Indeed, when I started browsing available assignments, many did specify “mature” and others specified “over 50”. Hmmm, isn’t that refreshing?

This site really shows the global value of the internet when someone from Canada can use a New Zealand web site to find a house sitting assignment in the wilds of Brazil. (Take a look at that house in Brazil-only true adventurers need apply.)

It’s obvious that Susan really knows this market. Here are 2 must read articles written by her if you are interested in becoming a home provider or sitter or both.

1. Need a house and pet sitter but think you can’t afford it? Think again – you can find a house sitter who works for free.

2. Want to be a house sitter? Here’s how – and you won’t be paid a cent for your efforts.

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About the author: Brian

Not a grumpy old man but a techno savvy boomer! Brian is a Canadian blogger with a mission: to provide a boomer friendly guide to technology and the internet.