Four things you need to do if an elderly person has a bed bug infestation

Are you worried an elderly relative or friend may have a bed bug infestation? Discover five things you need to do – and three things you must avoid!

A bedbug infestation affects the elderly population different. If changes in routine can be confusing for seniors with dementia, imagine the upheaval a pest cleanup can cause. They might not understand why their world is suddenly changing or why their environment is looking different.

Here are four things to keep in mind, how to detect bed bug infestations and three things to avoid doing.

1) Stay vigilant

Many of our elderly loved ones might not spot the early signs of a bed bug invasion due to their deteriorating eyesight. Imagine missing out on the tiny hints these bugs leave behind, only to face a full-blown infestation later.

Regular inspections of an elderly loved one’s bedding and room are a must. Those tiny black or rust spots on sheets aren’t just simple stains. They’re fecal marks from bed bugs, a clear sign of their presence. 

2) Check often

Many elderly individuals don’t feel the itch or see the typical red welts from bed bug bites. So, they might be sharing their beds with these critters without even knowing, setting them up for possible health complications in the future.

Be sure to check your loved ones skin and spaces thoroughly and often. Clutter provides numerous hiding spots for these pests, allowing them to spread undetected. Store things in sealed containers to reduce potential hideouts for bed bugs but also cherish any memories.

3) Consider mattress armour

Bed bugs love busy communal spaces, and care homes fit the bill. Bed bugs live ideally in temperatures between 21 and 32 degrees Celsius, making elderly homes a place they can infest due to the warmer temperatures required by the elderly. But remember, even independent seniors might have homes packed with memories (and hiding spots for pests). 

Bed bug-proof covers are essential barriers that prevent bugs from making a home in the crevices of a mattress or pillow. These covers are usually light-coloured, making detecting any dark spots (indicative of bugs or their droppings) much easier. It’s a simple preventive measure with long-term benefits.

4) Call in the professionals

While experts, including the NHS, recommend professional help to tackle bed bug issues, the prep work can be daunting for seniors. Moving furniture, washing fabrics, and emptying drawers is a huge ask, especially for those with mobility challenges. 

Bed bugs hide in the tiniest of crevices and can be resistant to typical store-bought treatments. Professional exterminators not only possess the right tools but also the expertise to tackle these critters effectively. 

How to detect bed bugs early

Given these unique challenges, it’s even more critical to spot these bugs early for our elderly. It’s not just about staying bug-free but also about ensuring the wellbeing of our seniors. Follow these steps to detect bed bugs early:

  • If possible, a career or family member with good eyesight might want to stop by and do a bedbug check in an older person’s home if there have been infestations in the area or among friends. 
  • If a family member who’s visited an older person’s home recently finds that they have bedbugs, it’s essential for them to let others know so that a check can be done.
  • If bedbugs are found in an older person’s home, the elderly person should know it’s all right to contact friends and family right away for help with combating them, including getting in touch with a pest control service.

Three things you should not do!

And finally, here are three things you should not do if you have a bed bug infestation:

  1. Use chemicals yourself: Many chemicals can have adverse effects on the elderly, who might already have respiratory issues or sensitivities. It’s always safer and more effective to consult professionals about the right treatment.
  2. Try heat treatment without help: Improper application can pose serious burn risks to the elderly or even create fire hazards. Always ensure any heat treatment is supervised or conducted by trained professionals.
  3. Stay silent: Family members must act promptly and address the situation head-on. Prioritising comfort or appearance over health can have severe repercussions for our loved ones.

Daniel Westhead is the Managing Director at SureSafe, which focuses on crafting user-friendly personal alarms, helping individuals live independently in their homes for an extended period. They believe in offering genuine value and collaborate closely with a broad range of manufacturers to deliver top-notch products.