Miss Your Grandmother?. . . Then Rent One!

Anna’s mother died when she was six, and she was raised by her grandmother, Betty. Anna had a close relationship with Betty and has many fond memories of their time together. Betty lived a long life and died at the age of 92. Anna misses her grandmother immensely and is sad that her children will never experience the kind of relationship that she had by having her grandmother as such an important part of her life. In doing some research, Anna decided that maybe it was time to give her children the experience they never had and rent them a grandmother. It may have been April Fool’s Day yesterday, but this is no joke. Renting a grandmother is an actual thing and it’s happening worldwide!

Grandmothers (and grandfathers) are famous for being the most loving and nurturing members of any family. For those of you who are grandparents yourselves and for Anna in our example, you realize the importance of a grandparent-grandchild relationship. Todd Pliss, founder of Rent a Grandma does too, which is why he wanted to grow his business and took his idea to Shark Tank.

Rent a Grandma Concept Appears on Shark Tank

Todd Pliss, a former tutor for rising stars, such as the Jonas Brothers, encountered quite a lot of parents who didn’t have extended family around. Typically, when grandparents aren’t nearby, parents will hire a teenager from the neighborhood or maybe a college student to babysit. However, more often than not, these teenagers and young adults are not the caring, reliable people we want taking care of our children. (Pliss noted that they spend lots of time texting on their phones.) Pliss recognized the issue and decided to take matters into his own hands by starting up his new business, Rent a Grandma.

Pliss was so convinced that this idea would work and become successful that he closed down his tutoring program in order to begin interviewing potential “grandmas” to work for the business. What he was looking for in employees was older women who have a lot of domestic experience.
Pliss hired about 50 women to work as grandmas for the business, located in Los Angeles. The business received a lot of phone calls and emails from people across the country stating that they too wanted to rent a grandma. There seemed to be demand, so Pliss decided he wanted to begin franchising the Rent a Grandma service, but in order to do so, he needed some help. In hopes of finding a partnership and investment, Pliss headed over to ABC’s Shark Tank, seeking a $150k investment in exchange for 25% of his business.

Although the business only made 25k in its first year, Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban both thought that there was potential in the business to grow and become successful, but that it would take a lot of time and money for it to get there. Cuban didn’t want his name attached to a “rental senior” service, so he decided not to invest. As for O’Leary, the numbers just didn’t look so good at the time, which is why he didn’t want to risk putting money into the business either. Pliss walked away from Shark Tank with no new investors for his business.

Rent A Grandma Succeeds Despite Lack of Support from Sharks

Even though Pliss had no success on Shark Tank, he refused to give up on Rent a Grandma. Now, on their website (, people across the globe can look for older women (grandmas) in their area who are looking for work. The grandmas who want to be featured on the website pay a one-time service fee for their listing and then are screened and background checked to ensure that every potential Grandma has the most professional and capable qualities you would expect from an actual grandmother. The Rent a Grandma brand has been experiencing success and continues to grow. Despite the Sharks reluctance to invest, Pliss works hard to offer parents around the world the opportunity to “rent a grandma,” and based on his robust website with worldwide offerings, it seems to be working out for him.

Spend time with Grandchildren—It’s Good for Your Brain

What if you don’t have grandchildren of your own, but you want to be a “grandmother”? Or, what if you do have grandchildren of your own who live close-by and you see on occasion? Make it a point to spend time with your grandchildren. Spending time with children is a great way for maternal women to stay active and earn a little extra money after retirement by sharing their greatest talent: love. Grandma Jane, one of the grandmothers employed by the service claims: “I don’t subscribe to the idea that older people need to be sitting in a rocking chair. Being a Grandma is a wonderful experience and I have worked with many wonderful families.”

Stave off Alzheimer’s By Interacting with Grandchildren

A recent study indicates that spending time with children is good for your brain, as well. The study, published in ‘Menopause’, a journal of the North American Menopause Society, revealed that grandmothers who spend time taking care of their grandchildren exhibit lower risks of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive decline. An Alzheimer’s test conducted on women between the ages of 57-68 further supports these notions. Those who scored the highest were the ones watching and playing with their grandchildren at least once in a week.

Enhance Social Interaction and Stay Mentally Fit and Calm

It’s also been seen that frequent or regular social interaction with grandchildren can help older people to stay mentally fit and calm. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that seniors who spend too much time living alone without family interactions suffer from a 26% higher death risk during a period of seven years.

Ward off Depression by Interacting with Grandchildren

Depression is less likely to happen if grandparents create a strong bond with an adult grandchild. Researchers belonging to the Institute on Aging at Boston College analyzed data from 700 grandparents and grandchildren over a period of 19 years. They found that deeper the relationship between the two, the less likelihood of depression.
Spending Quality Time with Grandchildren
The time your children spend with you should be a fun experience for both, not a chore! Here are some ideas for activities grandparents and grandchildren can enjoy together.

  • Going for a walk in a park or nature;
  • Read together;
  • Create a family tree;
  • Have a tea party;
  • Go to the zoo or a museum;
  • Learn a new hobby;
  • Take a day trip.

If the distance between child and grandparent is an issue, utilize phone calls, video chat, social media, skype or anything that can help you maintain a strong connection.

Elder Care Lawyer in Virginia

As a grandparent, you want to make sure you have the peace of mind that everything is taken care of, should something happen to you. If you or members of your family have not done Incapacity Planning, Estate Planning, or Long-term Care Planning, or if a loved one is beginning to need more care than you can handle, please contact us to make an appointment for an initial consultation:

Estate Planning Attorney Fairfax: 703-691-1888
Estate Planning Attorney Fredericksburg: 540-479-1435
Estate Planning Attorney Rockville: 301-519-8041
Estate Planning Attorney DC: 202-587-2797

Print This Page
About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.