Retiring? Don't be left holding the baby
Published 15/04/2010 | 05:00
FRIENDS, not family, are the key to a happy retirement, according to research which concludes that grandchildren are a mixed blessing.
Pursuing hobbies, joining clubs and making friends were more important to "life satisfaction" than regularly seeing grandchildren. Researchers suggested that grandchildren could get in the way of grandparents' social life if they spent too much time caring for them.
In the study, 300 pensioners were questioned about their home lives, relationships, hobbies and families. Their life satisfaction was then measured using a standard psychological model.
Whereas having children and grandchildren had no effect on life satisfaction, those who had taken up new hobbies, joined clubs and met new friends were, on average, 30pc happier.
Among the happiest were those who had taken on an allotment, joined an art class or were in a book club.
"This was the most surprising finding," said Oliver Robinson, of the University of Greenwich, who led the study.
"It dispels the idea that retirement is all about sitting back and enjoying your grandchildren.
"They can be a subtle burden. They are fun, but they are also hard work and one seems to counteract the other. Being left with small children can also be quite stressful for older people." (© The Times, London)