Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate elders' experience in a mentoring program and preferred characteristics of the program. Methods: Two hundred and ten elders dwelling in Sungnam-si. Korea participated in the survey from April 1 to May 30, 2008. Using SPSS Win 10.0, descriptive statistics, Chi-square test, and t-test were performed. Result: About two thirds of the elders had experience as a mentee, and a large number of them reported that it was helpful. Compared to those without, the elders with the mentee experience were more likely to perceive that it is easier to build a mentor-mentee relationship. The most common reason for wanting a mentee experience was loneliness, whereas the most frequent reason for not wanting was feeling a burden when meeting a stranger. Preferred characteristics of a mentoring program differed between the elders who had the mentee experience and those who did not. Conclusion: This study concluded that a mentoring program is highly likely to provide psycho-social support to the elderly, Also, a large number of the elders who had never had a mentor-mentee relationship wanted to have it in the future. This study suggests that healthcare professionals include a mentoring program in healthcare services for the elderly, considering preferred characteristics of a mentor-mentee relationship.
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