ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
CANCER
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
CAREGIVING
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
5 Reasons why you could gain weight while dieting
Eat Up, But Eat Healthy This Holiday Season
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger
Climate Change Linked to Longer Pollen Seasons
EYE CARE, VISION
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
FITNESS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Go To Work But Skip The Car
Simple Steps Get Walkers Moving
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Living With Less TV, More Sweat Boosts Weight Loss
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
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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