Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Nursing home residents prefer dogs to other residents?
In a new study, a professor of geriatrics reports that nursing home residents would rather hang out with just a dog than a dog and other residents. The study, led by William A. Banks of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, included 37 residents who scored high on a loneliness scale and desired half-hour dog visits once a week. Half of the group spent the time alone with the dog. The others participated in group visits with one to three other residents and the pooch. Those who had the one-on-one time with the dog "experienced a much more significant decrease in loneliness after five to six weeks of visits." From a press release:
“It was a strange finding,” said Banks, who also is a staff physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis. “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.
“The residents found a little quiet time with the pooch is a lot nicer than spending time with a dog and other people,” he said.