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Thursday, 23 May 2013

Experienced Grannies as Au Pair

Gerda Sehr, 57, might be a Granny Aupair, but she is definitely not your typical Granny.

Following 38 years as an employee at the National Insurance Office, the Austrian from Carinthia was on the lookout for a new challenge- “I’ve always been annoyed that I can’t speak English, when I complained about it during a trip to India my daughter just said “Go to an English-speaking country and learn it!”

Surfing the net looking for an occupation for middle-aged ladies, she came across the website www.granny-aupair.com and applied and shortly afterwards was placed as a Granny Aupair with a family in Nottingham.

Prior to her placement she and her husband visited the doctor couple at home and hit it off immediately. Gerda Sehr moved into the couple’s garden house with free board and lodging. “I didn’t receive a fee, but my family, who is very proud of me, could stay with me any time”. She went on a lot of trips with her guest family, among others to Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood’s Tree.

Every year families around the world hire young women aged 20-or-so to take care of their children and housework -- activities that an experienced 50-plus woman like Gerda Sehr can do easily. Why not rely on this know-how and invite a Granny as an au-pair to your home? In 2010 Michaela Hansen, 50, launched the initiative to send young-at-heart “Grandmas“ initially from German-speaking countries all over the world. “Senior citizens often remember their one-time dreams with a bit of melancholy,” says Michaela Hansen from Hamburg/Germany. “Staying abroad is often foremost among these dreams. Some wanted to immigrate to America when they were young, others dreamt of a sheep-farm in New Zealand. But even the wish to work abroad as an au-pair was not fulfilled." Michaela Hansen is amending this by giving these experienced women a second chance.

Thanks to her initiative, older women now have the opportunity to go abroad for an extended period, improve a foreign language and intensify their knowledge of a country – more extensively than is possible during a holiday – an opportunity which has already been taken up by more than 300 “Grannies” placed in 40 countries. The Granny helps with housekeeping and children, and gets free board and lodging in return. Becoming part of a family makes it easier to immerse oneself into life in a foreign country. It’s a win-win situation for both sides, as the idea of au-pair is based on mutual help.

Patricia, a Vancouver Mum states: "The past three months have been an interesting experience for the three of us. The opportunity to have a Granny Aupair has taught us so many things, as we open our home and hearts to that person and there's so much to learn from the experience: from the differences in our cultures and backgrounds to the similarities we might have. But the greatest part is learning to welcome one another and share the space and our day to day lives, and this experience has particularly shown me so much about myself." 

Families and single parents looking for a “Granny” are encouraged to contact Granny Aupair at info@granny-aupair.com. More about the service can be found at www.granny-aupair.com

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