The Benjamin Button phenomenon – old people getting younger – is exploding across Europe, to the point where an increasing number of companies are hiring interns in their sixties. The truth is that these sprightly and lively ‘new style’ pensioners don’t want to end their days watching TV on the sofa. They believe they still have a lot to say so they want to prove it professionally, even part-time. It’s a way to feel as though you’re still in the running and it supplements the pension, which doesn’t hurt.
Among them are those who work in call centres – or iron shirts for their neighbours. Some raise money for charity and others work as estate agents. Many return to their old companies to train new recruits.
In Switzerland, for example, ‘Rent a Renter‘ (which means ‘rent a pensioner’) is a community that has had great success in getting older people, who turn up with their photo and details, to offer their expertise. Some sell tax advice, some help in the kitchen. They even have a ship’s captain for boat trips on the lake and ‘adoptive’ grandparents. That’s right: many older people really want a grandchild and, if they don’t have one, they offer to accompany ‘adoptive’ children to the zoo or bake biscuits with them.
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