Researchers at Saint Louis University in Missouri compared a 35-pound (16 kg), floppy-eared mutt named Sparky with AIBO, a far-from-lifelike robot dog, to see how residents of three U.S. nursing homes would respond.
"The most surprising thing is they worked almost equally well in terms of alleviating loneliness and causing residents to form attachments," said Dr. William Banks, a professor of geriatric medicine who worked on the study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.
Banks said pets have been shown to help older people feel less isolated. "It really improves loneliness considerably," he said in a telephone interview.
But many senior citizens are too frail to care for a pet or have had to give up their own animals when they went to the nursing home. "They really miss that bond," he said….MORE….
The article goes on to say, both Sparky and the robot dog gave virtually equal the amount of comfort.
This can be a boon for nursing home residents, but truly….their families should show up as well to dispel the loneliness too.
ps – Want a robot dog?