AJMAN // For IF, age does not get in the way of observing Ramadan. The 75-year-old from Ajman starting fasting in childhood and has no plan to stop anytime soon.
"Why not fast at this age," he asked. "There were only two times in my life that I didn't fast, and both times my uncle scolded me. Thank God I'm able to and there's nothing stopping me."
A former fisherman who has lived at the Old People's Home in Ajman for nearly 10 years, IF has minor liver weakness, which is treated with a daily dose of vitamins. Tears welled up in his eyes as he recalled childhood memories of Ramadan with his loved ones.
"Ramadan and Eid were so much nicer back then," he said. "About 40 of us would gather at home, eat and then make rounds to visit our friends and family."
IF's love for food does not make fasting a challenge. In fact, he said it is his favourite part of the Holy Month.
"I don't get hungry and I don't get thirsty," he said. "But there's nothing like the experience when it comes time to eat."
SG, another resident at the nursing home, has hypertension.
Unlike the others at the facility, SG, 70, is not an Emirati and has a family - a wife and five daughters. However his service to the UAE and financial situation have allowed him to be the exception to the nursing home's strict rules.
The former engineer said that despite his high blood pressure he is able to fast without experiencing fatigue and that his age is not a barrier.
"In his case, fasting has actually helped reduce his cholesterol levels," said Dr Maryam Mohammed Al Blooshi, a general physician at the nursing home. "We've adjusted his medication and he's doing very well during this month."
A balanced iftar, which the facility provides, is key to making sure that older people do not feel tired or face any complications the next day, Dr Al Blooshi said.
Both IF and SG start their day with physiotherapy, then spend a couple of hours enjoying each other's company. In the afternoon, they take a nap until just before iftar, when all residents at the nursing home come together.
"All the people here have formed a close bond with each other," Dr Blooshi said. "This place has become their home and they've become each other's family."