Tuesday, April 14, 2020
I've intentionally avoided posting on stories about elders and COVID-19. There's just so many stories daily. Here's a story, though, that I think is important to consider. That is-how do you protect your elder family member when multiple generations live in the same home? Kaiser Health News (KHN) tackled this issue in this story, Staying Away From Grandma’ Isn’t An Option In Multigenerational Homes.
Opening with the story of one family, the article describes the advantages ... and risks as follows:
Their living arrangement — four generations together under one roof — has its advantages: financial support, shared meals and built-in child care for [the] kids, now 5 and 3. But this “tier” generational setup also heightens their concerns as the coronavirus continues to march across the world, with young people positioned as potentially inadvertent carriers of the virus to vulnerable elders for whom COVID-19 could be a death sentence.
And there are a lot of families with this type of living arrangement. According to the article, "[m]ore than 64 million Americans live in multigenerational households ... often a combination of adult children, their parents and grandchildren. That’s 1 in 5 U.S. residents."
These living arrangements seem to be increasing in popularity:
In some cultures, within the United States and elsewhere, multigenerational households are the norm. In recent years, more American families have adopted the lifestyle, some building homes with “granny flats” as baby boomers move in with their kids and vice versa. To be sure, the idea of combining households has always helped families get through tough economic times and life transitions such as death, divorce or job loss.
But did we anticipate the implications when a pandemic like COVID-19 hits? The article offers some tips from experts on keeping everyone safe and how to make this "tiered" generational living situation continue to work, even as the virus continues to march into our communities.
Stay safe everyone.