Research says that its friends and not grandchildren who make up for a happy retirement. The research concludes that grandchildren are a mixed blessing. The study found that 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.
Then the researchers measured their life satisfaction by using a standard psychological model.
While 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, 30 per cent 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. 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," Times Online quoted Oliver Robinson, of the University of Greenwich, who led the study, as saying.
"Instead the research reinforces the idea of relishing your new-found freedom, and having grandchildren around goes against that," he added.
Robinson said that the study found that people with high-powered and consuming jobs had difficulty adjusting to retirement.
"Those people found the adjustment quite hard because they had given up their hobbies. I think people should think about what they are going to do with their retirement long before they get to that age. People who had lost touch with their hobbies or passions found it difficult to pick them up again," he said.
Those who had found retiring most difficult were military personnel and civil servants, he added.
The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the British Psychological Society.