Elderly people prefer time with dogs over people | entertainment | Hindustan Times
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Elderly people prefer time with dogs over people

A research has revealed that lonely seniors would rather spend some time alone with a dog than with a bunch of people.

entertainment Updated: Jan 06, 2006 11:33 IST
PTI

The adage that 'a dog is a man's best friend' seems to be true, especially when it comes to the elderly, for a recent research has revealed that lonely seniors would rather spend some time alone with a dog than with a bunch of people.

The study of 37 nursing home residents showed that they preferred to receive weekly, 30-minute visits from pooches over other human beings.

As a part of the study, half of the senior citizens spent time alone with a dog, while the other half spent time with one to three other nursing home residents and a dog.

It was found that while both groups felt less lonely, the group that had one-on-one quality time with the dog experienced a much more significant decrease in loneliness after five to six weeks of visits.

The lead author William A. Banks, M.D., professor of geriatrics in the department of internal medicine and professor of pharmacological and physiological sciences at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, said that the study had found that elderly people consider a little quiet time with a dog a better treatment for loneliness than time spent with people.

"The residents found a little quiet time with the pooch is a lot nicer than spending time with a dog and other people.

We had thought that the dog acts as a social lubricant and increases the interaction between the residents. We expected the group dog visits were going to work better, but they didn't," he said.

Researchers found that pets reduce loneliness in nursing homes by simply being with people as they give them something to talk about or an experience to share.

The research will be published in the March 2006 issue of Anthrozoos 18.