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Reducing Loneliness and Depression: The Power of Peer Mentoring in Long-term Care

The first of four research papers by Kristine Theurer, PhD has now been published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA).

The papers review the impact of the implementation of the Java Mentorship program in 10 long term care & retirement homes in Ontario over a 6-month period.

The first paper gives an overview of the study. It describes the program and the study, and presents the results for 28 resident mentors, i.e. the residents visiting the more isolated and lonely residents.

The research documented significant reductions in loneliness (15%) and depression (29%) among the mentors. This approach offers an opportunity for residents to contribute in a real and purposeful way—and by helping their peers they are also helping themselves.

Subsequent papers will provide more details including the program’s impact on those that were visited by the mentors – 30% reduction in depression – and a 60% increase in activity participation.

To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the delivery of peer mentoring using a team approach within long-term care homes. The improvement in the depression scores is ground-breaking and this will have significant impact on falls, hospitalizations and staff burden wherever the program is implemented.

For more information please contact Kristine Theurer at