Why not rent a pensioner?

There has been a “Rent a Pensioner” website in Switzerland since 2009, with over 4,000 pensioners registered. Anyone can hire one and benefit from the skills they have. In the canton of Zug some 81 pensioners, male and female, are signed up, ready to help, for example, in filling out your tax form, or taking your dog for a walk.

One of those involved here is Peter Silberschmidt, who has had a very active a varied working career. The 77-year-old remains very fit and has experience in so many areas. “I have had my own farm in Canada, sold agricultural machinery all over the world and worked in a bank, for the last 16 years there in charge of export risk,” he said, actually working up to the age of 70 in smaller economic projects. “What I found was, if you have been working all this time in a full-time job or more, you cannot just stop and do nothing. Hence, at three score years and ten, I said to myself, “That is enough; now enjoy a rest and get engaged in voluntary work”,” he said.

And this is what he is doing, for example chauffeuring disabled people to all sorts of venues, such as hospital appointments, which they would not so easily be able to attend, through the charity Tixi service. He also helps out on the financial side with the Pro Senectute old people’s support service. As for this “Rent a Pensioner” organisation, he came across this on the internet, quite by chance, its great advantage being the flexibility it provides, leaving him plenty of opportunity for his own free-time activities, such as travelling and cycling.

He mentions how one of his busiest times is in the spring-time, when tax forms have to be filled in. Among his clients are both the elderly and the young people, those, perhaps, with not much experience of filling in such forms. He does charge, but only a two-digit sum, not that his prime purpose is earning money.  “It is really my way of giving something back,” he concluded. 

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