COVID-19 Tips for Multigenerational Homes
Do you share a home with grandparents, parents and kids? Bringing multiple generations of a family under one roof can be rewarding and a good source of support. But during a pandemic, it poses some extra challenges. Grandparents, for instance, may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 just by virtue of their age. Others in the home may be at increased risk because of pregnancy, smoking or underlying health conditions.
Everyone in a family can take steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect themselves, like wearing masks and keeping distance from people outside one’s home. But there are additional steps multigenerational families may want to take too.
Protecting those at high risk
In general, the CDC says a good rule of thumb is this: Everyone living with a high-risk person should act as though they are at high risk too. Some smart steps to take:
Be careful about contact. If you’re not at increased risk, you should keep your distance from those in your home who are. That means avoiding things like:
Sharing food or utensils.
Drinking from the same cup.
Limit visitors. Try not to have any visitors inside your home. If people must visit, have them wear masks and stay outside, if possible, while keeping at least six feet away.
Designate an errand runner. People at high risk should stay at home as much as possible. So it’s a good idea to decide on one or two lower-risk people who can make visits to the store or run other errands when needed. They should wear a mask at all times and stay at least six feet away from others while they’re out.
Travel safely. Try not to ride in vehicles with people from other households. If you must, open the windows to ventilate the vehicle. Sit as far from each other as you can. And clean and disinfect door handles, seatbelt buckles and other high-touch items after each trip.
Delegate child care. People at high risk for severe illness should not be tasked with caring for children in the home, if possible. If they must care for children, the children should not have contact with people outside the home.
If someone gets sick
It’s best if the sick person can be given a separate bedroom and bathroom. But if that’s not possible, try to separate them from others as much as you can.
For instance, if you need to share a room with someone who’s sick, CDC suggests that you:
Open a window, if you can.
Keep your beds six feet apart.
Place a physical divider between your bed and the sick person’s.
Sleep head to toe.
Assign one person to take care of the sick person. This caregiver should try to limit contact with others in the household too.
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