Elderly people in many respects benefit from interaction with dogs
UMIT - Private University of Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Institute of Gerontology and Demographic Development, Hall/Tirol, Austria
European Journal of Medical Research 2011, 16:557-563 doi:10.1186/2047-783X-16-12-557Published: 2 December 2011
Over the course of evolution, humans and animals have entered into a close relationship. By domesticating animals, humans were able to use them to their own advantage. However, animals should not only be seen as mere providers of material value; in fact, they actually enrich humans' lives on an emotional level. The classic examples for this evolution are dogs: they are considered loyal companions, particularly for children and elderly people. This relationship between humans and animals is the subject of this research study and is examined from a gerontological perspective by employing qualitative social research methods. Conclusion: The results of the study reveal the manifold meanings that pets - in particular dogs - can and do have to the elderly. At this point, it should also be noted that there is still a strong need for further research into this topic from a gerontological perspective.