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'Rented' grandpa, granny to baby-sit for Chinese New Year
Updated: 2006-01-23 16:56

More seniors are hired as baby-sitters in Beijing as most of the house maids have been returning to their hometowns for the traditional Chinese New Year, according to a Beijing-based domestic service company Monday.

As the Chinese Lunar New Year, a traditional festival for family reunion, is approaching, the business of "renting grandpas and grannies" is on a rise, said Xu Yunlong, manager with the company called "Yijiaer".

Currently, half the registered senior baby-sitters have been hired and most of them signed contracts with their employers soon after they met each other, said Xu.
"Our house maid will leave on Wednesday, so nobody is available to look after my five-year son," said a woman surnamed Guo.

Fortunately, she turned to the domestic service company and they provided a 60-year-old woman.

"She looks kind and handy. I like her at the moment I saw her." said Guo. According to their contract, Guo will pay the elderly lady 800 yuan (99 U.S. dollars) a month till her baby-sitter comes back.

Starting the beginning of January, more and more seniors have been filling the baby-sitter's vacancies. On one hand, the elderly people want to do something during the festival; on the other hand, many households like renting a "grandpa" or "granny" to spend the holiday together at the absence of baby-sitters, Xu said.

"Every day, we receive a dozen of customers and numerous telephone calls for information of hiring senior baby-sitters."

So far, around 50 senior people have registered with the company as candidate baby-sitters. Those rented "grandpas" and "grannies" can earn 600 yuan to 3,000 yuan (74 U.S. dollars to 370 U.S. dollars) a month, according to Xu.

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