ERIC Number: ED362797
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-May
The Use of Peer Counselors in the Treatment and Support of the Elderly.
Harman, Jane Mary
This research review examines the selection, training, and efficacy of elderly peer counselors. The introduction explains why professionals alone will not be sufficient to deal with the growing mental health needs of older adults. The review goes on to provide a rationale for peer counseling with the elderly. Selection criteria of potential peer counselors and training considerations are discussed. Because much of the available literature addresses the use of programs operating through community mental health agencies, there is a discussion of research conducted on the extent and variety of these programs. The review also examines the use of elderly peer counselors working in groups, including a spouse support group and elderly peer facilitators educating their peers regarding stroke prevention and treatment. Issues of peer counselors used in an individual approach in nursing homes, individual blind peer counselors working with other elderly blind persons, and peer counselors working on a telephone hotline are addressed. Benefits experienced by the peer counselors themselves, including increased self-esteem gained by actively participating as helpers, are discussed. It is noted that there is a dearth of literature on elderly peer counselors and that the methodology of available studies is weak, making any conclusions drawn tentative at best. The review does suggest, however, that training elderly peer counselors to help meet the mental health needs of older adults is an efficient and cost effective alternative that warrants further exploration. (NB)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Doctoral Research Paper, Biola University.