Productivity refers to an individual's contributions to society through both paid and unpaid work. Older adults often take part in the productivity occupations of household management, caring for family members, volunteer work, or paid employment. The physical and/or cognitive limitations that older adults may encounter can affect an individual's ability to fulfill productivity roles and responsibilities. For example, following a stroke individuals may experience a loss of function in their dominant hand making many household tasks—carrying a pot, opening a can, or pouring a cup of tea—difficult with the use of only one hand. The occurrence of a stroke may also impact an individual's memory, concentration, or attention span, leading to potential safety concerns in the kitchen, such as leaving items on the stove unattended or forgetting to turn off the burner.
The maintenance of skills necessary to manage a household and remain in their own homes is often of primary importance to older adults. Occupational therapists work with individuals and their families to promote independence and safety in the home environment. By addressing the physical or cognitive limitations, modifying the task or adapting the environment and support structure, the occupational therapist enables individuals to meet their household management responsibilities.