OBJECTIVE. This systematic review aimed to synthesize the effects of interventions within the scope of occupational therapy to improve performance of activities of daily living (ADLs) in community-dwelling older adults.

METHOD. Searches were conducted in CINAHL, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and OTseeker. Empirical studies published between 1995 and 2015 were individually screened and appraised by two reviewers.

RESULTS. Forty-three studies met the review inclusion and exclusion criteria. Physical exercise was the most common intervention approach. Physical exercise interventions for frail older adults showed a moderate benefit, but no benefits were found for older adults without noticeable difficulty in ADLs. For older adults with difficulty in ADLs, there was a high benefit of using home-based intervention.

CONCLUSION. The findings of this systematic review highlight the importance of addressing older adults’ living environment in intervention to promote independence in ADLs.

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