Living with or caring for someone who cannot self-isolate

It may not be possible for some people to self-isolate. For example, a child, an older person or someone with a disability.

They still need to stay at home and isolate from others. But they may need help with daily activities like washing, eating or going to the bathroom.

You and everyone else they live with need to take extra care to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Read when an adult can stop isolating

Read when a child can stop isolating


  • wash your hands properly every time you have contact with the person
  • make sure you and the person you're caring for wear a medical, respirator or well-fitted face mask when you have to be in the same room, if possible
  • use a clean tissue if you have to clean phlegm or spit from their face, put it into a waste bag and wash your hands
  • pick a room for them to stay in with a window that can open for ventilation
  • limit their movement in the house
  • get them to use a different bathroom if possible
  • keep them away from older people, people with high risk conditions or pregnant women

If you live with someone else and you are self-isolating

Supporting someone with a disability during the COVID-19 pandemic

Try and have one carer only

If possible, only 1 person should look after the person isolating. This should be someone who is in good health and fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if possible.

Ideally, it should be someone who:

  • is not at high risk from COVID-19
  • does not have a weak immune system
  • is not older than 70

People in these groups are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19

If more people in your household develop symptoms

Read advice on what to do if:

Page last reviewed: 2 March 2022