The current pandemic is an unprecedented time for everyone, including those in a home share arrangement. It's important to have a conversation with your housemate to ensure everyone feels supported, safe and secure. Although it may be difficult to have conversations around sensitive issues like finances or mental health, these conversations are important to have now before a potential issue arises. One of those conversations is around emergency planning.
What happens if you or your housemate becomes ill with COVID-19? It's important to discuss this potential "what if" now, while you're both healthy. Some things to consider include:
Isolating within the home
If you or your housemate contracts COVID-19, you'll both need to self-isolate. If one of you is ill and the other is not, then you may be wondering if it's possible to keep shared living areas safe. The Government of Canadahas important recommendations on how to self-isolate safely, as well as tips to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others within the home.
Have groceries and supplies dropped off at your door (ask a friend or neighbour for help, or reach out to community organizations if you don't have someone you can ask)
Ensure you have the supplies you'll need to isolate safely. Visit the Government's website for a list of suggested supplies.
Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in the home
Wear a medical mask, non-medical mask or face covering, eye protection and disposable gloves within the home if you need to be in the same room as other housemates.
Follow instructions for wearing, using, disposing of and washing face masks.
Keep your hands clean.
Avoid contaminating common items and surfaces.
Use approved hard-surface disinfectants to clean common surfaces within the home.
Avoid contact with those who have compromised immune systems, chronic health issues, or who are in a high-risk category because of their age.
Avoid contact with pets (there is evidence that you can transmit COVID-19 to your pets).
Plan for an Emergency Situation
While most cases of COVID-19 do not require hospitalization, it's important to discuss the "what-ifs" of this scenario with your housemate.
Share emergency contact information of people who should be notified in case of a medical emergency. It's a good idea to connect someone from this list with your housemate so they can provide your housemate with updates about your health condition. If you have a pet, discuss who will care for this pet if you're hospitalized (don't assume that person will be your housemate)!
Another important consideration to discuss with your housemate is finances during hospitalization. How will you continue to meet financial or other home share obligations while you're in the hospital? You may want to let a family member know what those financial obligations are so that they can continue to pay for rent/mortgage payments or other household expenditures as required.
Want to make your home safer for your housemate? Contact HomeShare Alliance. We're offering online interviews and free phone consultations to answer any questions you may have about homesharing during the pandemic. We're now able to support new homeshares and available to offer our advice, so please reach out to us with any questions you may have.