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Seniors May Have Special Needs When it Comes to Bed Bug Control

By Chris Williams on February 15, 2012.

Q. My 85-year old mother-in-law lives alone, has care givers, and unfortunately, also has a bed bug infestation in her home. Her pest control company says that it’s going to be more difficult to control her bed bugs because she’s a senior with special needs. Why should her situation be any different from anyone else’s?

senior-citizensA. It’s true that seniors, in general, can face special problems and considerations when they have a bed bug infestation. Here are some potential concerns:

Higher Temperatures. The elderly often keep their homes warm, often warmer than younger people feel is comfortable. These high temperatures speed up bed bug life cycles and can result in higher bed bug populations. Higher temperatures also increase the volatilization of insecticides, causing them to break down faster and reducing the length of time they remain effective.

Medical Considerations. Seniors are more likely to have medical problems that make them more susceptible to the effects of insecticides. Pest control service around seniors needs to be adjusted to reduce their potential exposure to insecticides. Special problems and risks include:

·        Breathing problems – Seniors have more respiratory problems such as bronchitis and emphysema. People with breathing problems are more affected by airborne irritants such as certain pesticides and the additives used in pesticide products.

·        Dementia – Those suffering from senility, Alzheimer’s, stroke, or other disorders affecting memory or reasoning may not be able to follow instructions intended to minimize their insecticide exposure.

·        Lack of mobility – Seniors may be bedridden or confined at home or limit themselves to a particular room. Special provisions may need to be made to treat that room(s) without the person present.

·        Depressed immune systems – Many seniors have chronic medical problems or take medications that reduce the effectiveness of their immune system, making it harder for their bodies to detoxify and eliminate insecticide residues that would not affect normal individuals.

·        Interactions between medications and insecticides – Seniors take more medicines. Some medications can make people more susceptible to the health effects of insecticides, often by interfering with the ability of the liver to detoxify and eliminate chemicals in the body.

Preparation for Service.Some pest control companies require a lot of action from residents in preparation for bed bug service, everything from stripping the beds to moving furniture away from the walls. Many seniors, perhaps most, are unable to perform the heavier work and may not have help available. Preparation arrangements might have to be made before the work can begin.

It is definitely more challenging to handle a bed bug infestation in the home of a senior with health problems, but it’s not an impossible job. A reputable pest control company should be able to work with your mother-in-law, her physician, her family, and her caregivers to come up with a workable bed bug program that minimizes her insecticide exposure and causes the least amount of disruption and discomfort in her life. If you feel that her pest control company is not addressing her needs, shop around for a company that will.

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