March 30, 2009 / 3:06 PM / 8 years ago

Missing a granny's love, wisdom and help? Hire one

RACIBORZ, Poland (Reuters Life!) - An elderly care unit in a small Polish community has offered to rent out pensioners to locals desperate for the kind of help and love that only a grandparent can offer.

The Silesia University's unit for elderly launched the project "Grandmothers and grandfathers to be hired and loved" in the small southern town of Raciborz earlier this year and has so far found new families for three women.

Retired teacher, Maria Orlowska, remembers hearing her neighbors' 10-year-old daughter crying loudly as her parents left for work each day.

Now that the 64-year-old Orlowska has become little Asia's hired granny, the tears have stopped and a whole new world of fun and fulfillment has opened up for both of them while Asia's parents are out working.

"I come from a multi-generation family. There were always many people at our place for Christmas, with grandmothers, aunts and so on," Orlowska told Reuters.

"And now Asia and her family are filling this gap for me. We spend holidays together, there are always plenty of us."

Asia too enjoys the time she gets to spend playing with "grandma" and getting help with her homework.

"She is so cheerful and always able to help me," Asia said.

The authors of the project say Orlowska's sister has also found a new family and that many other potential grannies and grandads are hopeful they can find a family in need of some grandparent power.

Asia's mother, Iwona Porombka, says she treats Orlowska as a proper member of the family.

"We have really become close and this is a mutual help," she said. "I treat Maria as my own mother."

Writing by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Paul Casciato

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