The Risks and Benefits Of Multi-Generational Living

With many schools switching to virtual learning, parents may have to juggle their work with school work. That’s where the extra help is important.
Posted at 4:12 PM, Aug 18, 2020

Martina Sanchez gets to see two of her grandchildren every day, something many grandparents are missing out on these days. 

“I sometimes bathe them, I give them food to eat, I make them nap, we go to the park and play for a while,” said Sanchez. 

She lives with her daughter who gets an extra set of hands around the house. 

An estimated 64 million people live in multi-generational homes. They’re most prevalent in Asian, Hispanic and Black communities, consisting of two or more adult generations. 

With many of the largest school districts switching to virtual learning, parents may be forced to juggle their work with school work. That’s where the extra help could be important. 

According to a Newsy/Ipsos poll, 11% percent of parents say they will be relying on either grandparents or other family members for help this school year. 

But like so many things this year, there are risks.

“It's a double-edged sword,” said geriatrician Dr. Venkatesh Nagalapadi.

Geriatrician and medical director Venkatesh Nagalapadi says before COVID-19, grandparents in multi-gen homes benefited from the physical, financial and emotional support. 

But today the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 is at least 5 times higher for seniors.

So Nagalapadi says every member of a multi-generational home should behave as though their risk factor were the same.  

“It comes to basics — wearing a mask, even if you're at home if you're in close proximity to patients over 65, isolating as much as you can, hand washing precautions, limiting outside exposure,” suggested Nagalapadi. 

Sanchez says she is taking extra precautions like cutting down on hugs, something hard for this grandma.  

“Of course I’m afraid, we adults are taking care of ourselves for ourselves but also for them too, for my children and grandchildren. So we are practicing the best hygiene possible inside our house,” said Sanchez. 

Amber Strong, Newsy, Northern Virginia.