Leisure and Productivity in Older Adults with Cancer: A Systematic Review

Occup Ther Int. 2021 Apr 3;2021:8886193. doi: 10.1155/2021/8886193. eCollection 2021.


Introduction: Self-care, leisure, and productivity are important occupational domains for older adults' quality of life, which might be affected by cancer and its treatment. A great number of publications about older adults focus on function or self-care, so we aimed to analyse how cancer and its treatments affect leisure and productivity. Secondary objectives were to identify whether particular clinical and/or sociodemographic factors were associated with occupational disruptions and to assess the impact of rehabilitation approaches on leisure and productivity in this population.

Methods: A systematic review of the 2009-2019 literature performed on Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials.

Results: 1471 publications were retrieved: 48 full texts were assessed; seven of these (four cross-sectional studies, two cohort studies, and a case report) were reviewed, including data on 16668 people (12649 healthy controls, 3918 cancer survivors, and 101 ill patients). Older adults with comorbidities and a low level of activity before cancer diagnosis may be more at risk of occupational disruptions. However, studies focused more on physical activity than leisure and productivity. Two studies mentioned occupational therapy. Discussion. As cancer can become a chronic disease, it appears important to also offer occupation-centred assessments and follow-up.

Conclusion: An occupation-centred approach could be developed; its effectiveness must be assessed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Neoplasms*
  • Occupational Therapy*
  • Quality of Life