The Modified Caregiver Strain Index (MCSI) is a self-administered 13-question, screening tool that measures the “strain” associated with caregiving. It contains at least one item regarding financial, psychological, social and personal topics. This tool can be used to assess individuals of any age who have assumed a caregiver role for an older adult.
The basic interpretation of the MCSI is that “the higher the score, the greater the need for more in-depth assessment to facilitate appropriate intervention.”
In addition to identifying caregivers who need additional support, the screening questions themselves offer insight about the context of the caregiver role. The strain of caregiving mounts up layer by layer mirroring the burden-pattern of layer by layer losses experienced by older adults. This helps explain the collective exhaustion of the intergenerational partnership and why respite and recovery strategies are essential for caregiver quality of life.