Objectives: Caregivers (CGs) of older adults have unique and diverse needs for intervention. The present studies describe the characteristics of CGs and caregiving situations and how these relate to CG therapy utilization patterns in a community mental health setting.
Method: Study 1: Through chart review, the researchers explored service utilization patterns and identified preliminary typologies of Caregiver Family Therapy (CFT) clients, N = 23. Study 2: By conducting a second chart review, the researchers sought to determine whether the categories that emerged in Study 1 applied to a second group of CFT clients, N = 36.
Results: Study 1: Four distinct categories of CGs emerged: High-Distress (high disorganization, high complexity), Resourceful but At-Risk (low disorganization, high complexity), Non-Committal (high disorganization, low complexity), and Model CGs (low disorganization, low complexity). Study 2: While the ability to classify CGs into category proved to have some inconsistencies, preliminary evidence suggests the ability to predict utilization once CGs were placed into category was good. In Study 2 a fifth category emerged: High Functioning but Static, which suggests CGs were on a continuum ranging from high to low on family organizational style and CG situation complexity.
Conclusion: While caregiving situations vary widely among families and across time, this article provides a preliminary typology of CGs that may assist clinicians in tailoring CG interventions to meet the needs of their clients based on information garnered early in therapy, perhaps as early as the intake process.