Grandparents dubbed ‘retired help’

Posted on: 30 June 2011 by Rhian Mainwaring

Do you have a full time job you don’t get paid for?

According to a survey from Leger holidays, 50 % of UK families depend fully on grandparents to assist with childcare. Almost a quarter (22 %) of British grandparents spend 20 hours or more child-minding each week, with an average grandparent providing at least six hours of childcare for their families.

Whether this is a joyful experience, done solely out of love, or a necessity in keeping your family afloat, this time can have a serious impact on your social life and leisure time. When it comes to leisure time, thousands admit to pausing, changing or sacrificing their dream getaways to help their families.

The research from leading escorted tour operator Leger Holidays, revealed over a quarter of Britain’s 14 million grandparents feel that commitments and responsibilities at home, stop them from going away as often as they would like, with Grandmas (32 per cent) more likely to feel this obligation than grandpas (28 per cent). 

It is becoming increasingly popular for grandparents to holiday with their families and grandchildren rather than staying at home. However, over half of grandparents admit to not enjoying the experience, with one in five saying that they find it hard work and many also feel they are only invited to provide free childcare. There’s also the likelihood that tastes differ when it comes to booking a getaway, with the equivalent of 1.8 million grandparents (13 per cent) admit their tastes differ from their families when it comes to how and where to spend holidays. Many families choose to lie on the beach or by a pool, whereas the older generation tends to enjoy more experiential getaways, looking for new outings, sights or activities for each day.

Perhaps it is the case that busy families need down time, and take grandparents on holiday to act as babysitters, allowing tired parents to have some time off. Or do you accompany your family on holiday out of choice, thrive on spending the time with your grandchildren and wouldn’t want it any other way? Every family is different after all.

Huw Williams, marketing director at Leger Holidays, told us “Given the current economy, a generation we at Leger have dubbed ‘Retired Help’ has to provide childcare and support for their families, which is having a serious impact on their own leisure time.”

“As the research shows, much as we love our families, our tastes and requirements for a holiday can change as we get older. So, it’s important to make sure that you take a holiday that suits your needs in order to get that much-needed dose of rest and relaxation.”

According to recent statistics the ‘Retired Help’ network is thought to save £2,021.24 per year for the average UK family and as much as £10,883.60 for those who rely on grandparents to provide full-time support. Do you see your parents as a ticket to free childcare, are you a grandparent who would quite like their life back or do you love babysitting for your grandkids and believe it’s the older generations duty to help out? Let us know what you think below…

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