ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
CANCER
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Get to Know the Pap Test
CAREGIVING
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
When Clocks Change, Body May Need Time to Adjust
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
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Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement

It's said that one of the joys of old age is taking pleasure in your grandchildren, but an English research team begs to differ.

An active social life, being married and having a partner who is also retired all make a huge difference in seniors' enjoyment of life, but having children or grandchildren matters little, the University of Greenwich team found in its study of 279 British retirees.

Grandchildren are a source of pride, but there are trade-offs to having them, said lead researcher Oliver Robinson, of the university's department of psychology and counseling.

"There are both benefits and drawbacks to the presence of children and grandchildren in retirement, which balance each other out," Robinson said. "The positives are that having children and grandchildren imparts a sense of purpose and meaning, while the drawback is the frequent commitment for child care that can potentially interfere with the sense of freedom and autonomy that is at the heart of a positive retirement."

Robinson and his team were to report their findings Thursday at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Study participants, who were recruited from a retirement Web site and online newsletter, answered questions about family, friends and their life in retirement. They also completed a scale designed to measure their satisfaction with their lives.

The researchers found no difference in life satisfaction between retirees who have children and grandchildren and those who don't.

But a strong social network tended to have a major positive effect on retirees' enjoyment of life. Seniors with high levels of life satisfaction strongly agreed with the statement, "I have active social groups I enjoy spending time with." Conversely, seniors who aren't enjoying life much strongly agreed with the statement, "I miss the socializing of working life."

"Social groups in retirement, particularly those that revolve around shared interests, can provide a retiree with a number of basic psychological needs -- a sense of connectedness, of purpose, and of mastery if there is a skill involved," Robinson said. "The great retirement trap is loneliness, and active social groups negate the possibility of that."

American retirees have expressed similar sentiments regarding what makes their life most enjoyable, said Rosemary Blieszner, associate dean of the graduate school at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and director of the Center for Gerontology.

"Older adults are very interested in their grandchildren and want them to succeed, but really, I think that most of your happiness and psychological well-being is going to come from your peers," Blieszner said. "For many stages of life, not just old age, people feel like their age peers understand what they're going through and give them that social support that comes from friendship and understanding."

Having a spouse or a longtime partner also matters significantly when it comes to enjoyment of retired life, the British team found. Seniors who are widowed, never married, divorced or separated reported lower levels of life satisfaction than people in long-term relationships.

It also makes a difference whether your partner is retired along with you. The study found that retirees whose spouse or partner is still working enjoyed their life less than those who have been joined in retirement by their partner.

"Those retirement individuals whose partner is not retired miss their work lives more, perhaps because they are unable to fully engage with retirement," Robinson said.

"They are in a kind of limbo state, unable to make plans for long holidays or a substantial change of life until the retirement of their partner happens," he added. "When a couple retire together, they can plan aspirationally together, and help each other adapt to the new life phase."

SOURCES: Oliver Robinson, M.A., M.Sc., Ph.D., University of Greenwich, Department of Psychology and Counseling, London; Rosemary Blieszner, Ph.D., Alumni Distinguished Professor, associate dean, Graduate School, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and associate director, Center for Gerontology, Department of Human Development, Blacksburg, Va.; April, 15, 2010, presentation, British Psychological Society annual conference, Stratford-upon-Avon, England Published on: April 15, 2010