Never underestimate older people

Never underestimate older people

Older people are boring stay-at-homes – a common bias, but far from the truth: For five years now Granny Aupair’s appeal has been, “Get off the couch and get out into the world!” And up to now this call has been followed by around 1,000 women.

Courageous women who are already mostly over 60 or even 70 years old, go off into the world as Granny Aupairs and help in families and social projects as temporary grannies.

In the last half decade our Grannies have traveled to more than 40 countries and have thus circled the globe around 125 times altogether. Many are or have been on the go several times.

“We call it the ‘Granny Aupair virus’, which apparently can be caught be very easily. As more than 30 percent are repeaters, who are drawn into the distance again and again,” smiles the founder and owner of Granny Aupair, Michaela Hansen, 53, and adds: “In the meantime our Grannies have become a veritable export hit. Families around the world appreciate our life experienced women who care for their children competently and lovingly.”

Granny Aupair is also becoming more and more international also in view of the grannies. At the moment around 70 replacement Grannies from eight nations are looking for nice families to actively support as au pair, house sitter or companion.

“Admittedly to start with women from German speaking or neighbouring European countries made up the majority of our membership, but we are getting more and more members from further afield, and thus we were able to welcome the first Grannies from Brazil, New Zealand as well as the Caribbean island of Curaçao or the Bahamas.

Granny Aupair simply connects people worldwide – applying to families and Grannies equally – no matter where they come from,” says Hansen. These days sees the successful agency celebrating its fifth birthday.

Michaela Hansen is a pioneer in this field, as up to five years ago no agency placing women over 50 abroad as au pairs even existed. What developed as a flash of an idea on the sofa at home whilst watching television, worked surprisingly well in its realization.

“I found it unfair that older women could not travel abroad as an au pair. And anyway I believe that the older people in our society are totally underestimated,” adds the four times grandmother.

At the beginning of 2010 Michaela Hansen launched an appeal in the media “Looking for a granny as au pair for Canada“. The response was overwhelming and the file with interested Grannies and families grew rapidly.

“I am especially pleased that Granny Aupair is also inspiring younger women. Thus a 35-year old recently wrote to me: ‚Since I know of Granny Aupair’s existence I am looking forward to growing old‘.

Lots of recognition also came from official quarters: Two years after its founding Granyn Aupair was honoured by the location initiative “Deutschland – Land der Ideen“, this was followed by nomination for the “Deutsche Alterspreis” as well as various other awards.

About Granny Aupair  

The children have flown the nest, working life has come to an end. What now? A stay abroad is a good opportunity to gain new experiences, to socialise and to receive new ideas. Michaela Hansen created a platform for cultural and international exchange with the agency ‘Granny Aupair’. The initiative places women with experience worldwide in host families, enabling them to break new ground.

An intensive exchange is created between the host families and the grannies: Both sides bridge national, cultural and age gaps. More information can be found at the multilingual website