When my wife and I became empty nesters and relocated almost ten years ago, we moved with our two dogs. When they passed away, we acquired two more. Somehow, our home just seemed more complete with dogs (and they're a great motivator for getting out and walking every day).
There's a lot to be said for companionship of the four-legged variety. As boomers/seniors become empty nesters, more of them realize a dog or cat can bring the place to life. Richard Rosso, a Houston-based certified financial planner, tells The New York Times, “As boomers become empty nesters, they look for other things to nurture. I’ve been in this business for 26 years, and during the last seven to 10 years I have noticed that the retirement dream for many clients is still drinking a piña colada on the beach, but now they see a Lab next to them.”
There is even a growing trend for senior living communities to embrace pet ownership; Erika Ribaudo, a senior adviser at senior living placement service A Place for Mom, tells The Times, “Now, probably 40 percent of them [senior living communities] are pet friendly, and that number is growing. Science tells us that pets make people feel so much better, and more clients just don’t want to give up their beloved family member. Today, they don’t have to.”
In recent years, more studies have claimed that pets are good for your health -- which may be another reason seniors are owning pets.
Writes J. Peder Zane for The New York Times, "Some studies find that pet ownership can help reduce blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol while increasing one-year survival rates after a heart attack... Other studies show that pets reduce loneliness and stress, promote interaction between people and encourage exercise."