Demand is growing for homes designed to accommodate more than one generation, and many say they expect the pandemic to accelerate that trend. Shelter-in-place orders often make it difficult for adult children to check in on elderly parents who live separately or in long-term care facilities. 

“I think we are seeing families not wanting to consider assisted living facilities, and instead bringing their families together under one roof,” Michelle Mumoli, a New Jersey real-estate agent, told MarketWatch. She said she expects a greater demand for ground-level home suites, mindful of Americans With Disabilities Act-compliances, such as wider bathroom doors, lower positioning of light switches and dropping down kitchen countertops a few inches.

Some experts fear this approach may not be the safest option amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however. A study published June 18 from Columbia University found that one reason New York was hit so hard early in the outbreak was likely due to multiple generations living in the same household. The researchers looked at 400 pregnant women who were tested for COVID-19 during delivery. They found that those who lived with many family members were most likely to contract the virus.

“One may think that because New York City is so dense, there’s little that can slow the spread of the virus, but our study suggests the risk of infection is related to household, rather than urban density,” Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, M.D., a professor of women’s health in Columbia’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said in a statement to Healthline.