Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elena Portacolone Research Published in Ageing and Society

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.  The American elderly who live alone 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.

According to the U.S. Census in 2000, over 38% of Americans over 85 lived alone.  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 speaker at the following conferences: 1) “Aging in America” (San Francisco, CA), 2) “Aging in 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 in May 2011 at UCSF.

About Elena Portacolone
Ms. Portacolone is a researcher on aging in America.  She holds two masters degrees in business administration and public health from the UC Berkeley.  She will receive a PhD in medical sociology at UCSF in June. More information is available at Elenaportacolone.com.

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