A Scoping Review of the Maternal Role at Older Age; Perceptions and Occupations

Ruth Maman, Debbie Rand, Michal Avrech Bar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Motherhood is a meaningful life role among adult women. Occupations within the maternal role of younger mothers have been well documented, but less is known regarding the maternal-role at older age. This review aimed to describe the occupations, activities, and perceptions that older women ascribe to their maternal role. In the future, this information may promote health and wellbeing of older women. A systematic search of peer reviewed articles, that included healthy, community-dwelling mothers, 60 years of age or older, was conducted. Maternal-role occupations and perceptions of older mothers were identified and classified according to the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (OTPF). Fourteen articles, representing 3102 older mothers, were included. The identified occupations and activities within the maternal role were from two categories: Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) (such as assistance with daily chores) and social participation (such as sharing holiday rituals). Three themes reflecting maternal-role perceptions were identified: providing support; relationship with children; and motherhood as a never-ending role. Maternal occupations were identified in only a few articles and from only two categories, IADL and social participation. These findings together with the perception that motherhood is a ‘never-ending’ role suggests that further research is needed to better characterize the maternal role of older women from an occupational perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number492
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Mothers
  • Occupation
  • Older women
  • Roles


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