These dog and cat companions provide multiple benefits.
A Boston terrier is a good choice for older adults.
Maybe your father needs to keep up with his exercise, but without anyone at home to nudge him outdoors, he tends to put it off. Maybe your mother needs something to focus her attention on instead of her health worries. The right animal companion is the perfect way to keep older adults active as they age in place, and to help them feel less alone, needed and loved.
“An animal provides another focus, a reason to get up in the morning, an opportunity to exercise, unconditional love and a social lubricant,” says Rebecca Johnson, director of the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri. For adults living alone, “animals can reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation,” she says. Research has also found that pet owners take better care of themselves, rebound faster from illness, maintain lower blood pressure, and have a lower risk of heart disease, Johnson says, adding that she has seen these benefits firsthand at TigerPlace, an independent living community co-developed by the university that encourages pet ownership. She credits animal companionship there with transforming withdrawn, sedentary adults into active, social members of the community.