Reevaluating the Role of Companion Animals in the Era of the Aging Boomer

53 Pages Posted: 17 May 2013 Last revised: 26 Sep 2014

See all articles by Rebecca J. Huss

Rebecca J. Huss

Valparaiso University Law School


The Census Bureau reports that the number of Americans sixty-five years and older is expected to double to 88.5 million by 2050 and represent 19% of the population by 2030. The aging population itself is getting older. The growth of the aging population and the "oldest old" will have a significant impact on societal resources and health care costs. As the percentage of the aging population increases, it is crucial to consider factors that will contribute to their well-being and health. One of these factors is the role that companion animals have in their lives. For some older adults, companion animals are a vital part of their daily existence. This Article is divided into four substantive parts. The first part considers the role of pets in the United States and the impact of companion animals on the lives of seniors. The second part analyzes issues that the elderly may face in keeping or interacting with companion animals in their residences. The third part analyzes federal laws that ensure that older persons with disabilities using service and assistance animals will have access to public accommodations and housing. The fourth part considers the risks of having animals in the lives of the elderly.

Keywords: companion animals, service animals, assistance animals, disability law, elder law, ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, FHA, Fair Housing Act

Suggested Citation

Huss, Rebecca J., Reevaluating the Role of Companion Animals in the Era of the Aging Boomer. 47 Akron L. Rev. 497 (2014), Valparaiso University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-4, Available at SSRN:

Rebecca J. Huss (Contact Author)

Valparaiso University Law School ( email )

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