Working Moms Hire Grandmothers to Help Out at Home

Family Matters on 06.15.11


Los Angeles parents can now get all the benefits of having grandparents close by -- last minute babysitting, folded laundry, a clean kitchen -- without having to live down the street from their parents when they use the Rent-a-Grandma service, reports ABC News.

Rent-a-Grandma employs women over 50 who help out with childcare and chores on a part-time basis; the company currently has about 50 grandmothers on staff for its L.A. location but plans to open 25 franchises around the country by the end of the year.

Rent-a-Grandma owner Todd Pliss says finding women who want to play the grandma role is the easy part -- women as old as 80 have called for an application, he says -- but that, despite the name, they don't have to have grandchildren of their own.

One mom, who hired a grandmother to help care for her three daughters, said that the experience the older women have makes them an obvious choice over hiring teenagers.

"The big advantage to hiring a 'grandmother' is that this is someone who has had their own kids, raised them and has that experience. You're not going to get that with a teenager," said Anna Marie Caldwell. "Teens are great, but the grandma is not going to be text messaging and is going to be focusing on the kids and not who she's going out with Friday night. It's a whole new level of seriousness in babysitting."

But there are important benefits for the grandmothers, too. The over-50 group is a growing population that isn't as close to retirement as it used to be, and many of the grandmothers find themselves back on the job market. "More and more older adults are determining that they need to remain in the work force, or re-enter it because of the economic downturn," says Sandra Nathan of the National Council on Aging.

And the grandmothers themselves are happy to prove they can take on the work. "I think grandmas are stereotyped," says Jane Mertes, one of the company's employees. "But I'm over 50, and I'm still very active. … I don't think they should count us out just yet."

More from ABC News.

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