When I worked as an office manager, after having been home with my kids for ten years, there was never a good solution to the problem of a sick kid needing a parent to stay home with him. My job was at a very small company, so if was out, all my work just waited until I got back. There wasn't anyone to fill in since all of us were already spread so thin and wearing so many hats. Made staying home very stressful. The Engineer's job assignments (all at another smallish company) have varied quite a bit over his career, mostly in sustaining engineering, but right now is in regulatory compliance where about one week a month he's at a testing site with the new product, helping it get through FCC or UL testing. These sessions cost tens of thousands of dollars a day, and the wait for a testing session is long. So he couldn't stay home either, most of the time. What's a family to do? Call on extended family? That proved complicated as well, since the Swede has some health issues compromising his immune system and has to avoid all possible infection, thereby excluding Nana. What we needed is what Sweden has: Kid Samaritans.
It's an ingenious idea. The Samaritans part is from the familiar Bible story about the Samaritan who stopped to help the injured traveler when everyone else, including the Jewish priest, had passed him by. Kid Samaritans, back in the 70s, were mostly grandmotherly types looking for a little extra income. They would come into your home and care for your sick child just like a grandma would, and I'm guessing on this part, because even The Swede didn't know, for a very reasonable price. He did suggest googling in Swedish, so I did. This profession is going strong! I found one ad where the Kid Samaritans are linked to a pre-school and are already familiar with your child from his or her attendance at that school. They even remind you that half the cost is tax-deductible. I didn't find any actual salary info though, or cost to the customer either.
I totally can see this working in the US. There are many retirees who are on a fixed income and could benefit from some extra cash. In turn, they'd gain a sense of purpose. I'd rig it like substitute teaching where you can always say no if you happen to have unchangeable plans for the following day. I know many sweet ladies at my church who would do a wonderful job at this. (Not excluding men, just this might not be the preferred gig, for the majority of them.)
My own Farmor (Swedish grandmother, “Dad'smom”) was employed this way when I was a little girl growing up in Sweden. Many other boys and girls benefited from her tender care, comforting food, and entertaining stories. She had quite the ear for accents and could imitate just about anyone. In her telling of a tale, each character's personality would come through in the voice she crafted for them. She never tired of reading aloud, either. Yes, she was a softie, but isn't that the role of a grandparent?
I wish she'd come take care of me now. I have the beginnings of a nasty head and chest cold, courtesy of YellowBoy, who is almost through his bout. I guess I'll count the blessing that I'm not currently employed, and my boys can look after me for a change. Pass the kleenex, please.