Having pests for a spry, able-bodied younger person is no fun at all, but if the person living with roaches, ants, and other vermin is elderly, the problem is much worse. Even if they're independent and active, pests present a special problem for the elderly and overcoming the challenges calls for outside help and not just from a pest control professional.
1. An Elderly Person May Not Know The Full Extent Of The Pest Problem
If you visit an elderly relative and notice a bug or two, there's bound to be more; however, your elderly relative may not be seeing the full extent of the problem or could deny it out of feelings of inadequacy. Many people with pest problems blame themselves, especially when there are roaches involved. There's a stigma that having roaches means you're dirty, making people embarrassed or leaving them in denial.
Make no mistake about it, though: if visitors observe evidence of roaches, there is a problem and it should be addressed by a professional. Break the news to your elderly relative or friend gently and offer your unconditional support.
2. Food May Not Be Stored Properly
Most people, not just the elderly, don't fully protect their edibles from creepy-crawlers. When there's a pest problem in the home, food must be stored in impenetrable, air-tight containers. If you help in supplying the home with these fortified containers, make sure the elderly person is able to open them independently, lest they understandably refuse to use them.
3. Thorough Cleaning Is Often A Challenge For Older People
If your elderly friend has no help in keeping the home clean, it could be a haven for pests. Through no fault of their own (though they are apt to blame themselves), underneath sinks and in the back of cabinets can't be adequately cleaned, leaving traces of food and undisturbed areas for roaches and other insects to leave their trail of pheromones. These pheromones act as social announcements, telling other bugs where to hang out, catch a bite of food, or nest.
Help your friend by offering to lend a hand cleaning or find them a good cleaning service.
4. If Fumigation Is Necessary, The Elderly Need Assistance
Typically, a pest control service will treat the affected and surrounding areas with some form of pesticide, and even if it's of the low-toxicity to human variety, your friend should not be home when it's applied and may even need to spend a day or so away from the home if fumigation is involved. The respiratory systems of elders can be fragile, and you don't want them by themselves anyway since pest control treatment will result in the bugs coming out of hiding and dying all about the place.
If possible, have the elderly person stay somewhere else while their home is treated and while the after effects are being cleaned up.
5. Follow-Up Is Essential To Pest Elimination
A pest control professional may need to treat the home more than once and even if not, the home should be well-maintained following treatment. Someone should keep a close eye on bug traps, set to ensure the pests don't pull off a comeback, and someone should also ensure food is being properly stored and that cleaning is taking place as thoroughly as it should.
An elderly person with a pest problem shouldn't face it alone. Let your friend or relative know you'll be there for them and remain dedicated to the problem indefinitely, as pests who've found their way into a home once can do it again.