The Sunshine State has one of the highest concentrations of older adults in the United States. According to the Census Bureau, the number of people 65 years old and above in Florida grew by 3.4% from 2017 to 2018. By 2030, the group will account for 32.5% of the residents.
While a good number of them are migrants, most are baby boomers who prefer to age in place. They might have already paid their mortgage in full or enjoy the comforts of the state and their community. Either way, they need to prepare their home for that. One step they must not forget to do is to call a junk removal service.
How Clutter Affects Older Adults
How problematic is clutter? One simply needs to look at the popularity of Marie Kondo, who introduced sorting objects according to what sparks joy. The problem is older adults are guilty of too much stuff.
Many studies show a connection between aging and hoarding, and it can be because of different factors. One is mobility. Immobility is one of the leading causes of disability in this group. This problem might arise because of:
- Chronic or lingering illness
- Fear of falls and fractures
- Loss of muscle strength or mass
- Poorer balance or gait
- Slower walking speed
When they are less mobile, they might have lesser energy to put things away or even sort their junk. They might also find the activity more time-consuming and draining.
Isolation can also be another reason. About 28% of American seniors live alone, and this increases the risk of mental health disorders. These include depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is a type of generalized anxiety disorder.
OCD can trigger seniors to collect items or hold on to them to exercise some sense of control, such as memories. These objects can also make them feel more secure.
However, clutter can bring a variety of problems for the older population, especially those who desire to age in place:
1. Increased Risk of Injury
The more objects are in the way, the higher are the chances of experiencing an injury. Older adults, though, might find recovery difficult because of aging and lower immune response.
2. Brain Clutter
The mess the eyes see can also create clutter in the mind. It’s because seniors have to deal with many types of stimuli and information. Worse, aging can make seniors feel less confident in their memory.
3. Higher Stress
Many people don’t thrive in a messy environment as it can increase stress levels. Higher stress can negatively impact their health, raising the risks of low-grade chronic inflammation. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America also revealed a link between stress and a higher risk of mental health conditions.
What Seniors Can Do
For some, dealing with clutter is easier said than done, especially if they see these objects as memories. However, experts suggest some ways to let go of them more gracefully. For example, they might take photographs of the items they wish to discard.
Older people in Florida can also hire junk removal service in Ocala. By working with professionals, they can avoid injuries from lifting and sorting items. The sense of detachment can also help them say goodbye to these long-held items more easily.