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UAE's senior folk find ways to thrive despite Covid-19 pandemic Filed on June 3, 2020
UAE coronavirus , Covid-19, China, warning, Coronavirus outbreak, lockdown, pandemic, Dubai, new cases, Covid-19 death, recoveries

Despite age making them more vulnerable to infection, it certainly hasn't dampened their spirits.

Covid-19 has changed life as we knew it - but even more so for UAE's senior folk, who have been repeatedly urged to #StayHome to avoid catching the virus.

But despite age making them more vulnerable to infection, it certainly hasn't dampened their spirits.

Dr Sajida Sultan Khan is 72 years old. A resident of the UAE for the last 34 years, the gynaecologist runs an active practice in Ajman - and has no plans to stop working anytime soon.

UAE's senior folk find ways to thrive despite Covid-19 pandemic (KT2420263.PNG)
Photo: Dr Sajida Sultan Khan

The septuagenarian said she isn't worried about catching the virus as they are taking due precautions. The clinic keeps her busy, although since the pandemic began, she only sees "necessary" cases by appointment.

"I haven't stepped out of my home since March 4, except to see patients for a few hours in the morning," she said. "Since I live in the same building as the clinic, it's not been a problem at all."

She has taken to reading a lot more since the restrictions began. "We are old people, so we like books a lot more than social media," she quipped.

Keeping the mind busy is key to good health, according to the senior citizen. "It's important to have something new to do, so our brain keeps working," said Dr Sajida, who has taken to memorising the Quran of late.

"One should also not be distressed by the pandemic. We are alive, and we can see our children over video calls. It's not a problem that they cannot visit, as it's only for a short time," she added. "In fact, we've told our kids not to visit. Why take the risk?"

Expat Yacoob Hassan has lived in the UAE since 1992. The 64-year-old managing director has been working from home ever since the restrictions were introduced in the UAE.

Apart from running his company, he is actively involved in coordinating logistics for the Model Service Society, which distributes about 14,000 hot food kits to labourers every day.

UAE's senior folk find ways to thrive despite Covid-19 pandemic (KT2420163.PNG)

Photo: Yacoob Hassan

Yacoob has been utilising his spare time by penning down his family history as a record for future generations.

The pandemic thwarted various plans, but the sexagenarian sees it as a temporary inconvenience. "My son was supposed to travel here from the UK, but couldn't," he said. "I also had a conference in Saudi Arabia that I missed. But we have to understand that we are witnessing something that only happens once in a century. We have to accept circumstances and take precautions till a vaccine is available."

Stress must be avoided, said the social worker, who is especially appreciative of the care given by UAE authorities to senior citizens at this time. "Staying at home is a good directive. It will keep us safe till things settle."

Being cooped up at home has been a bit trying for 55-year-old Mohammed Subhi - especially as the continued lack of movement has caused his joint pains to flare up again.

"I didn't have an exercise routine till I was about 50 years old," he shared. "When you reach a certain age, the lack of exercise and weak muscles combine to cause joint ailments."

Among the many things the Jordanian expat misses from the pre-pandemic life are the fitness sessions he used to attend at the Easy Fit EMS training centre in Dubai. Since the restrictions on movement kicked in, he's been opting to wake up at 5am every day to take a walk around his limited quarters instead.

His message to his peers is clear: "Keep yourself on the move. Walk about your home. Work your muscles so you can keep health issues at bay."

His other piece of advice is to take the time to reflect. "Now is a great time to ask questions about why we're here in this world, and read about everything we can to help us process those questions. For the last 55 years, I've never had the time to sit and think. I believe life is giving all of us a break right now."



Karen Ann Monsy

A ‘Dubai child’, Karen has been writing for magazines for close to a decade. She covers trends, community, social issues and human interest features. Whether it’s overcoming disability, breaking stereotypes or simply relating the triumphs of everyday lives, she seeks out those stories that can uplift, encourage and inspire. You can find her favourite work at

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