The daughter of a resident living in sheltered accommodation in New Malden has expressed fear for her mother’s life – as her bedroom has become infested with bed bugs.
The 89-year-old resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, has lived at Gilpin House for 15 years.
Gilpin House is a council-run retirement home in Kingston – which this resident’s daughter says was riddled with bugs in February.
Since the problem began, the resident’s daughter says her mother has had to get rid of “two beds, three sofas and three chairs” and “pay three times over for private bug sprayers”.
Kingston Council said it took the situation “very seriously” and “understands the distress it is causing” residents.
He added that further pest control was taking place on December 16, following a pest control visit to the home on November 24.
The daughter of the ailing resident told Newsquest South London: “My mother had to pay three times for private pest controllers, £250 each time.
“She threw away two beds, three sofas and three chairs and had to pay for everything herself.
“The council did nothing and now six more apartments are known to have bed bugs.
“The whole building shares two washing machines, and there must be at least 50 people living there.”
As the resident suffers from cellulite, her daughter says she is unable to walk without support or care.
The daughter explained that her mother’s “legs have become stiff” from the water retention that has accumulated and which she says is the result of bedbug bites.
She added: “My mum has cellulitis in her legs, and they are now infected because she was bitten by bedbugs.
“She has to take water tablets and elevate her legs to stop the swelling, but because the chairs have been thrown away due to the infestation, she is unable to move and her legs have become stiff.
“She phoned me at 6am last week and said she was afraid to get up because her legs hurt and she was afraid of falling.
“The conditions are diabolical and I’m scared of what could happen to him.”
Her daughter told Newsquest South London that her mother was falling “seriously ill” and the conditions were becoming “too much for her”.
She explained: “Although my mum has been through a lot – like losing five of her children, she has never been sick or taken antidepressants.
“Now, because of the conditions, his doctor has prescribed him antidepressants.
“She falls so seriously ill that it is too much for her.
“It’s a life-threatening situation and she needs to get out of it for good.
“Nobody can enter the room because it is so infested with insects that they jump on you.
“It hurts her physically because she’s itching and scratching all the time and it hurts her mentally because she’s constantly wondering where the bugs are.
“My mum can’t walk without help but the shared bathroom is downstairs, but she is physically unable to use the shower or bath without help.
“Caregivers used to wash her on the bed, but now that doesn’t happen because of bed bugs.
“It’s not a reflection on carers, it’s a reflection on the Council.”
On December 16, the daughter said Kingston Council had removed her mother and placed her in a spare bedroom in alternative sheltered accommodation.
She explained that her mother would have been on a “tendering system” for new housing.
The daughter said: ‘Pest controllers arrived at my mothers house (December 16) to spray the apartments with insecticide.
“They refused to spray my mother’s room because her things were still inside the apartment.
“If she had removed her furniture, she would have had to wait nine hours to return to her room – because chemicals are dangerous.
“They have now managed to put my mum in a spare room in other sheltered accommodation for the time being.”
A Kingston Council spokesperson said: “We take this situation very seriously and understand the distress it is causing residents.
“Work was carried out to identify all affected areas of the property and treatment by a qualified pest control contractor took place on November 24.
“A new treatment will take place on Thursday, December 16.
“The Council’s sheltered housing team will be present at all treatments to support residents and ensure access is gained to all affected areas, and that all recommendations are followed.”