Bedbugs force senior out of apartment after roach complaints

Updated:

89-year-old Jessie Gaston says she endured a roach problem for years and now she's dealing with bedbugs that have forced her out of her Northside Drive apartment unit in southwest Atlanta.

ATLANTA - An 89-year-old woman says she endured a roach problem for years and now she's dealing with bedbugs that have forced her out of her Northside Drive apartment unit in southwest Atlanta.

Jessie Gaston is staying with her granddaughter until this problem is taken care of.  Management did not require her to leave, but her family says there's no way she was staying another night at the Friendship Tower Apartments once they learned of the bedbug issue.

“They come out at night, all on my pillows, all in my bed all up there on the head," Gaston said.

Gaston showed Channel 2’s Eric Philips pictures taken inside her apartment.  The photos show black dots, which she identified as bedbugs.

“Yeah, I can see them all on my bed and they'll bite you,” Gaston said.

The apartment manager said on Tuesday an exterminator discovered the bedbugs, which usually come out at night. But Gaston's family is frustrated because they didn't know anything about the problem until Thursday.  In the meantime, their loved one was left to live with the bedbugs.

“I just get me a Kleenex and try to catch all I can,” Gaston said.  

“The scratching (has) been going on for a while, but we didn’t know it was bugs. (We were) thinking it was just her skin,” said Gaston’s daughter, Patricia Burke.

 The manager said because Friendship Tower Apartments is an independent living facility, once a resident is made aware of a problem like this, the staff has no obligation to inform the family. But Gaston’s family said she really didn't understand. 

“She's a diabetic. She doesn't need to be bitten by bugs,” said Gaston’s granddaughter Deidre Smith. 

Management says an exterminator will be at Gaston’s unit Monday to treat the bedbugs.  But Gaston is not optimistic based on how she says the exterminator has treated a reported roach infestation.

“The roaches all over that place. Everybody got 'em,” she said. “I ain't seen (none) dead roaches.”

Gaston can move back in right after the bedbug extermination happens, but the family is unsure about that.  They know that bedroom and living room chairs must go out because they're infested, but they're leery about letting her return to the apartment with any of the same furniture.

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