Impact of Long Covid on family life

In this section we cover:

  • The impact of Long Covid on family roles
  • How parents with Long Covid try to explain its effects to their children
  • Support from family members

You can find much more information on all aspects of the impact of Long Covid on families and family life here.

The impact of Long Covid on family roles

People we spoke to told us about how Long Covid made some of their family roles – like cooking, housework, or looking after their children – more difficult. Those who were affected early in the pandemic also told us about how the demands of home schooling made it particularly difficult to get enough rest.

Robert lost some of his enjoyment of cooking for his family after losing his sense of taste and smell

Some parents told us about prioritising their children’s needs over other aspects of their lives. Sarah said she didn’t want her sons to “miss out on their activities due to me being ill.” She added: “I guess a lot of my focus now is on trying to get them to their various things [but] that takes a lot of time and energy and I’m not really able to do much of anything beyond that.”

A few people felt that the changes which had taken place in their family as a result of Long Covid were not all negative. Emily commented that she had done a lot more with her daughter because she had not been able to go to work or to do other things away from their house. She said: “We’ve done much more together in the last six months because I’ve not been doing other things…we’ve sat and watched TV shows together, because that’s all I’ve had the energy for [and] we’ve been baking…we’ve been much more in the house because we’ve not been out and about.” Lynne felt frustrated about not being able to do all the work around the house like she used to. On the other hand, she thought that it was perhaps “no bad thing, because [the children] need to be a bit more independent and not rely quite so much on me lifting and laying them.”

How parents with Long Covid try to explain its effects to their children

It was hard for some people to explain some aspects of Long Covid to their children. Lynne said she found it difficult to explain her worries about being reinfected with Covid-19 to her children. Sarah said her children struggled to understand why she wasn’t getting better more steadily like she had done when she had been ill in the past.

Lynne was worried about getting reinfected with Covid. She had to make decisions about which activities she was willing to risk. Often this meant saying no to things her children wanted to do.

Sarah said it was hard for her children to understand why she wasn’t getting better in a more “linear” way. She found it hard to see their disappointment on days when she wasn’t well enough to do activities with them.

Support from family members

When people were struggling with their Long Covid symptoms they were grateful for practical and emotional support from family.

Adele felt lucky to live with someone who could give her so much help when she needed it. Her partner did ‘everything’ for her for months after she became unwell.

John was extremely reliant on his wife to take care of him. He said, “I can’t imagine having a carer who’s better than her.”

Frances said she had very supportive friends and family but that her husband in particular had been “absolutely fantastic” when she was at her worst.

Long Covid and work

Long Covid affected people’s working lives in different ways. Some people were not working at the time of the interview. Other people were still able...