Advice for grandparents who cannot isolate during coronavirus

How grandparents can stay safe while caring for grandchildren during COVID-19 pandemic
How grandparents can stay safe while caring for grandchildren during COVID-19 pandemic

ORLANDO – Throughout the pandemic, grandparents have been advised to physically distance themselves from their grandkids because most grandparents are in the vulnerable population and there’s some threats to kids’ health as well.

However, distancing might not be possible for some families where grandparents play a pivotal role in raising their grandkids.

A Cornell University study, done before the outbreak, analyzed how much time kids and grandparents spend together. They found that on any given week, 50% of young children spend some time with their grandparents.

And, the US Census found that one in five kids under the age of five are being cared for by their grandparents while parents are at work or school.

Some grandparents may be even more needed now that schools are closed.

Even with the ease of restrictions enacted during COVID-19, the threat of the virus is still active. If grandparents cannot isolate themselves, they can protect themselves by washing their hands frequently, using gloves when changing diapers, and regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces like tablets, toys and play mats.

The hardest part, but possibly life-saving, Infectious Disease expert Linda Yancey, MD, from Memorial Hermann in Katy said to limit close contact.

“I hate to say it but now is not the time for hugs and kisses. Now is the time to stay a little bit distant, even if you’re in the same room. Good hand hygiene, and if you want to be extra careful, masks can be worn by children over the age of two. You don’t want to put masks on toddlers and babies, they’re just too little,” Yancey said.

For grandparents who are able to self-isolate but want to remain connected with their grandchildren and help out, the doctor says scheduling a daily video chat time where you read stories or play games virtually with your grandkids is good for both kids and adults to feel connected.