Research from Aviva has found that Britain’s economy is leant a significant hand from its hidden ‘volunteer army’ of over-65s. Do you have any elderly friends or relatives who help you out for free?
This hidden, sometimes unacknowledged volunteer army is apparently boosting our economy by a staggering £33.5bn per year, by doing more than 104m hours of unpaid work a week.
So it seems that many pensioners are out there helping their families, charities and local communities by offering their support for free. As well as assisting family with childcare, lots of elderly volunteers work in charity shops, sit on committees or take on trustee roles.
DIY, childcare and a night out
My own experience rings true with this research. When it comes to over-55s, Aviva says they typically clock up 30 hours of child-minding a month. And when my in-laws come to see us, they usually help out with childcare while my wife goes to work. Thankfully, my father-in-law almost always comes armed with his extensive toolbox.
This is a man who could build a functioning space satellite in his workshop if he wanted to. My wife gives him a list of jobs to do on his arrival that I’ve either not got around to tackling or, knowing my limitations, wouldn’t contemplate taking on.
This is a win-win-win situation for us – the kids are looked after, all the outstanding DIY jobs are done (competently), and we usually get a night out together as well.
Are you one of these stalwarts, volunteering for charity work or helping out your family wherever you can? Or do you, like me, benefit from the millions of older people that help out with family or with the general community?