Older Happy Americans

Creating “Social Bubbles”

Angie Szumlinski Health, News, Studies

Social isolation has many adverse effects on people and can negatively impact seniors as well as young people. Detriments of social isolation are not picky- it affects everyone! Due to this, there has been research on the idea of “Social Bubbles;” so what is a social bubble? Here are a few key points:

  • A social bubble is when two families or a small group of people agree to take similar COVID-19 precautions so that they can socialize together
  • Forming social bubbles can allow people to socialize while reducing their risk for COVID-19 as states begin to ease restrictions
  • Social bubbles should follow current guidelines of gathering in groups of fewer than 10 people
  • Manage your social bubble with clear and honest conversations so that everyone can agree to the same rules

In a webcast presentation with Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Schaffner called it a “clever idea.” The question is, how do you open up safely, thus the notion of the bubble. His example:

You have a family with two children that want to get together with another family with two children. The trick would be to have a conversation with that family to make sure that they’re on the same, careful wavelength that you are. If both families have been careful, then you can get together. The children can play with each other, the grown-ups can have dinner, etc. You can be assured that everyone inside that bubble is on the same wavelength as far as wearing masks, social distancing and being careful. So, it considerably reduces the risk of having the COVID virus be part of your bubble.

Dr. Schaffner went on to say that he doesn’t use the word “safe” as we can’t ensure complete safety. However, by having a conversation with the other family, making sure that you’re on the same wavelength, then you reduce the risk that either you will introduce COVID or they will introduce COVID to your bubble. The conversations have to be pretty clear; don’t gather in large groups. However, small groups are fine as long as you can be reasonably assured that you’re all together.

It doesn’t really matter how you choose to manage the impact of isolation, working remotely, home schooling, etc. but do it in the safest manner you can. If a social bubble works for you, do it right, follow the recommendations in this webcast and don’t allow anyone in your bubble to stray from the plan without discussion first! Remember, it is easier to say no than to ask forgiveness later! Stay safe, stay well, stay tuned!

Listen to the full webcast here.