20th April 2020

Environment Coronavirus: Self-isolating in a multi-generational household

Environment Coronavirus: Self-isolating in a multi-generational household

Environment

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Media captionHayaat Karim said protecting his grandparents was the family’s priority

A family of 13, spanning four generations, has described the difficulty of self-isolating while all living under one roof.

Health officials have warned that those in multi-generational households are at more risk of infecting their elders.

Hayaat Karim lives in Bradford along with his grandparents, parents, six siblings – two of who are married – and his three-year-old nephew.

Some are now living in another part of the house to avoid getting sick.

Medical student Mr Karim said: “It’s been difficult because we’re so used to seeing everyone.”

His grandparents, aged 72 and 86, are staying in a separate part of the house, while his brother-in-law, who is a key-worker, has been nominated as the only person allowed to leave the house to pick up shopping.

“It’s just been about taking a moment to have those discussions with the family and how we can adapt the government advice and make it work practically in the home,” said Mr Karim.

“Our grandparents are the most vulnerable so even if my brother-in-law comes in and has something on his clothes for example, he changes them.”

Image caption

The eldest member of the family is 86-year-old grandfather Mohammed Walayat

In Yorkshire and the Humber, more than 80,000 people over the age of 70 live with someone of working age. But in ethnic minority communities, that number is significantly higher.

Prof John Wright, a medical doctor and epidemiologist at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said people living in multi-generational families was one of the reasons for the virus spread in Italy and Spain.

“These types of households are applicable to places like Bradford but also other big northern cities.

“This is a much more difficult environment to socially isolate… but we need to encourage people living in these households that hand hygiene is really important… because the risk is that you bring the virus into the household.”

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