Paid work

Work – opportunities for paid work

It’s ironic that I’m writing about work on the week that I’m actually on holiday. The first full week I’ve been off since Christmas – Hurrah! It’s given me chance to reflect about work and think about work that I’ve noticed some older people engaging in since I’ve been on my Age Life Balance journey. The focus here is on paid work, although no doubt there are opportunities to perform some of these activities without getting paid too. In future articles, I’ll dedicate specific attention to non-paid and voluntary opportunities.

I’m not sure of the age of many of the people I’ve noticed (indeed I don’t know many of them personally), but I believe that most are over 60, and many over the official retirement ages of 65 for men and 63 and 9 months for women, in the UK.

Some of these people may already be drawing a pension and using these activities to provide a supplementary income. Others may choose to delay their pension beyond the normal pay-out date. I’ll cover the reasoning behind this in more details in a future Financial Security article on Pensions.


One popular option is part-time gardening work. This could be ad hoc or regular maintenance work, either for people working but who don’t have the time, or older or less able-bodied people who cannot tend their own gardens.

This can be hard work – especially when the weather is not so good – but can also be rewarding, especially if you love gardening. Work opportunities can typically be found by word of mouth or via local advertising boards e.g. in a shop window.


This is often, but not exclusively, for children. It could include academic tuition e.g. English and Maths focus, or assistance to get through exams such as 11+, GCSE or A-levels. It could also include language or music tuition, or something more artistic.

Depending on the subject and your locality, this could be done at your home or the student’s.

Although formal qualifications aren’t always necessary, a certain level of proficiency in whatever you are teaching would be a requisite. Certain checks e.g. DBS in the UK may be required or recommended for safeguarding purposes, when working with children or other vulnerable people.


When we think about older people and childcare, this is often for one’s own relatives (although this may frequently fall into the unpaid category), although you could also provide more regular child-minding services for non-relatives. Again, DBS checks may be relevant here.

Childminding could be performed in your own home or where the children live. I also love the concept of the ‘granny au-pair’ , which would involve living in with a family. This could be a great way to travel to different regions or countries, whilst earning some money.

Other care work

This often involves regular home visits to older or less-abled people, but there are also opportunities for live-in carers. This is another solution where board and lodgings are included. It could be a option for someone in good health, with limited ties and that doesn’t have their own property. The work could be hard though, not necessarily the most pleasant and success would depend greatly on your relationship with your ‘patient(s)’.


This could include cleaning for members of your family or for others in your local area. Work is often found based on word of mouth recommendations or via a local advert. There is also an older male cleaner within our office building – the part-time work keeps him occupied during the daytime and allows him to get social interaction, while earning some extra money.

Food preparation

This is often derived from a passion for cooking! This could range from jams, chutneys and cakes to whole prepared-meals. The products may be sold to individual customers at home or through market type stalls and or sold on through local cafes and shops.

Shop assistants

I confess, I do most of my shopping online.  When I do visit a real shop, however, I appreciate a certain level of customer service including a smile and an exchange of civilities. Typically, I find this is more forthcoming from older workers. Some of the supermarkets and hardware stores have definitely cottoned onto this in recent years and I think this is a positive move.

Cafés & restaurants

Similarly, I’ve noticed more older serving staff lately in a couple of local cafes and restaurants. Some of the jobs previously filled by teenagers and students are now sometimes filled by older people.


I recently required the services of a notary at work. The notary agreed to come and visit my office; a bonus as this saved me valuable work time. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was an older gentleman and we got talking about his Age Life Balance. He had worked as a solicitor for many years and had officially retired several years ago. He now has his own notary practice and performs ad hoc services as and when contacted by clients.

Gym instructor and personal trainer

I just love the fact that this one even features! A few months ago, I met a very inspirational gym instructor that I interviewed as part of my words of wisdom serious. Demand for work is partly based on his qualifications and experience, as well as his reputation in the area.

Further reading

Amelia Hill from the Guardian also featured working options within her series on The New Retirement from earlier this year. I think this is worth a read.

I also just stumbled upon this interesting article last night about how Chinese debt collectors are employing elderly women to help collect their debts, preferably those who look ill. Maybe there’s something in this?


So, we’ve seen that there are a number of different opportunities for paid work for older people. And these are just the ones that I’ve noticed since I’ve been paying attention. I’m sure that there are others that you know about. I’d love to hear about other opportunities for paid work for older people, so please share with the rest of us within the comment boxes below.


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