SAN FRANCISCO, April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Elena Portacolone (Elenaportacolone.com), noted researcher and lecturer on aging in America, is sharing her findings in the June issue of Ageing and Society, a Cambridge University Press academic journal.
Ms. Portacolone challenges the belief that elderly Americans living alone can only enjoy life if they are self-reliant and "independent". Her research on the hardships associated with living independently runs counter to conventional thinking and is rarely portrayed in the media. Elderly Americans who live alone often do not want to be a burden to others and fear moving to a nursing home. As a result, they avoid assistance when they need it most – as their bodies, energy, and social circles decline, yet as income is fixed and healthcare expenses increase.
In 2000, more than a third of all Americans over 75 lived on their own. Researchers believe this percentage is increasing steadily because the U.S. population is living longer.
"Ms. Portacolone's work in the field of older people living alone is cutting-edge and extremely valuable not only to me, but to the United States," says Eric Klinenberg, author of the book Heat Wave.
The elderly do not ask for help because they feel like a failure if they do. Shunning help, however, can lead to a precarious existence characterized by constant crisis.
"There are elders who are living alone, isolated, and chronically ill who risk dying helplessly at home alone. Elena's research offers ideas and solutions to hidden and chronic problems," says Carroll Estes, Founder of The Institute for Health and Aging, UCSF.
Ms. Portacolone will be a featured presenter at the following conferences: 1) "Aging in America" (San Francisco, CA), 2) "Aging and Society" (Berkeley, CA), and 3) "Society for the Study of Social Problems" (Las Vegas, NV). She has been quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle. Her dissertation, titled "Precariousness among older Americans living alone in San Francisco: Towards a sociological theory", will be presented May 9, 2011 at UCSF.
About Elena Portacolone
Ms. Portacolone is a researcher on aging in America. She holds masters degrees from UC Berkeley in business administration and public health. She will receive a Ph.D. in medical sociology at UCSF in June. More information is available at Elenaportacolone.com.
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SOURCE Elena Portacolone