Although often thought of as a job or a career, family caregiving must be identified first as a phase of family life that recurs over the lifespan. A family systems perspective on caregiving shifts the focus toward the structures and dynamics of the larger system within which caregiving services are rendered. Families have diverse ways of identifying who will become a caregiver and how care will be implemented. Transitions into and out of family caregiving episodes require significantly family reorganisation, a period fraught with risk and potential. Although some caregivers are at high risk for adverse outcomes, others thrive under the challenge. This talk examines caregiving within a family systems lens, offering perspectives on moving past the limitations of a stress and coping framework.
Professor Qualls is the world expert on family systems approaches to understanding family carers of frail older adults and helping to ameliorate their distress. She is also an expert in training of geropsychologists. She is co-author of Mental health and aging, a key text in the field now in its 3rd edition, and Caregiver family therapy published by American Psychological Association.
Professor Qualls is the primary voice for using family systems frameworks to guide the development of interventions for family members who provide care for older adult. Her book Caregiver family therapy is an intervention manual. She has co-authored multiple measurements to assess the needs of older adults and those who care for them, and continues to collect data on norms from diverse populations. Her lab has studied family contexts of those who seek services, the fidelity of the intervention model, and a preliminary assessment of outcomes.
Presented by: Professor Sara Qualls (Kraemer Family Professor of Aging Studies, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Gerontology Centre at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs)