Conoravuris: Elderly in mixed-aged homes in East Renfrewshire urged to take ‘extreme care’

Elderly people are more at risk in mixed-age households.Elderly people are more at risk in mixed-age households.
Elderly people are more at risk in mixed-age households.
East Renfrewshire has ​one of the lowest proportions of elderly people living with someone of working age in the UK – but a charity has warned all mixed-age households to remain extra cautious to avoid catching coronavirus.

The Government advises anyone aged 70 or over to be “particularly stringent” in following social distancing measures, as they are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19.

But residing with people of working age may bring challenges, charities and scientists have warned, as younger people are still allowed outdoors for essential trips.

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New figures from the Office for National Statistics show just nine per cent of people aged 70 plus in East Renfrewshire live with one or more people of working age – those aged between 16 and State Pension age.

This is one of the lowest rates in the country – well below the UK average of 15 per cent – but still means 1392 East Renfrewshire residents are affected.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “Staying safe in multi-generational households is challenging but also incredibly important, especially if the older person already has significant health issues.

“In the end it’s about being really cautious and exercising your common sense – that’s the best way of keeping the virus at bay and ensuring everyone remains fit and well.”

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She encouraged young and old people living together to ensure they keep their distance from each other, disinfect doorknobs and other surfaces, and follow hand washing advice, particularly after returning home.

Jennifer Dowd, an Oxford University epidemiologist, said a combination of high rates of co-residence, along with a high proportion of older people, would lead to a large number of coronavirus cases – which could explain why Italy has been so badly affected.

She said: “I think in general that more contact between younger and older generations through co-residence would be expected to speed up transmission from working age populations to older more vulnerable groups, who are then more likely to have serious symptoms and show up as cases right now.”