"It Makes You Feel Good to Help!": An Exploratory Study of the Experience of Peer Mentoring in Long-Term Care

Can J Aging. 2022 Sep;41(3):451-459. doi: 10.1017/S0714980821000611. Epub 2022 May 11.


Social isolation and loneliness in long-term care settings are a growing concern. Drawing on concepts of social citizenship, we developed a peer mentoring program in which resident mentors and volunteers formed a team, met weekly for training, and paired up to visit isolated residents. In this article, we explore the experiences of the resident mentors. As part of a larger mixed-methods study conducted in 10 sites in Canada, we interviewed mentors (n = 48) and analysed data using inductive thematic analysis. We identified three inter-related themes: Helping others, helping ourselves described the personal benefits experienced through adopting a helping role; Building a bigger social world encapsulated new connections with those visited, and; Facing challenges, learning together described how mentors dealt with challenges as a team. Our findings suggest that a structured approach to mentoring benefits residents and helps them feel confident taking on a role supporting their isolated peers.

Keywords: aging; centres de soins; isolement social; loneliness; mental health; nursing homes; santé mentale; social isolation; solitude; vieillissement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Mentoring*
  • Mentors*
  • Peer Group

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