Supplementary Material

No data


Background: The elderly usually have physiological and/or psychological dysfunction and need to stay in long term care facilities. But the changes in living environment or the systematic daily lifestyle in the long-term care facilities usually cause maladoption, increased loneliness and decreased happiness in the elderly. In this study, we used therapeutic dogs (TD) in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) in an attempt to improve the life quality of elderly people residing in a nursing home in Taiwan.

Methods: We used the pre-post test design and obtained repeated measures in a single group of elderly adults.We measured the longitudinal effect of happiness and loneliness of elderly residents before and one, two and three months after TD intervention, designated as M0 (baseline), M1 (one month after intervention), M2 (two months after), and M3 (three months after).

Results: In the aspect of happiness, elderly residents reported an increase of happiness scores across all three time points post intervention. There was an increase in happiness score of 1.056 (p < 0.05) between M1 and M0, 12.167 (p < .001) between M2 and M0, and 19.222 (p < 0.01) between M3 and M0. In the aspect of loneliness, there was no difference between M0 and M1. Loneliness was significantly decreased between M2 and M0 (score difference -2.289, p = .001) and also between M3 and M0 (score difference -1.976, p > .05), although in M3, the loneliness score was slightly higher than that in M2.

Conclusion: This study provided a model of TD therapy to telderly and healthcare workers. It improved elderly happiness and some loneliness too. Further study and long term follow up is still needed.