Rashid Saeed al Sori, a resident aged 60, is paid a visit by Abdullah Whaled, five.
Rashid Saeed al Sori, a resident aged 60, is paid a visit by Abdullah Whaled, five.

Why caring is a relative matter

ABU DHABI // Fatma Dhaheri has an unofficial full-time job - caring for her grandmother, who suffered a stroke three years ago and is paralysed on one side of her body.

Along with her mother, Ms Dhaheri, 26, devotes much of each day to all that entails, including trips to and from hospital, providing basic hygiene that her grandmother can no longer manage and feeding her several times a day. "I have to do it," Ms Dhaheri said. "Someone must do it." The UAE is a young country, with less than 10 per cent of its population over 65 and an average age of 30. Services for the elderly vary from emirate to emirate, and there is little available in the way of long-term care.

Families like Mrs Dhaheri's with ageing members are forced to navigate difficult choices. Many of the elderly are cared for at home, with the task most often being carried out by daughters and granddaughters. "In the Arabic culture, one family member must volunteer," said Dr Hanan Sheikh Ibrahim, a geriatrician at the American Hospital. "The house has three generations in it. They go to their traditional room and sit and have their coffee and share their experiences. I am impressed by how much they care here. That is the cultural difference."

Not everyone, however, can do what Ms Dhaheri has done. And as more women enter the workforce, it is placing a strain on the traditional social practice. Many quit their jobs, others hire untrained people to provide care. Sometimes it is easier to leave their elderly relatives in hospital for extended periods. "We keep them here and they stay, sometimes for months, just to have access to the nursing care," said Dr Ashraf Alghul, the chief of general internal medicine at Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi. "That is not the way it should be, but at least it ties in with the family."

Complications from heart disease and diabetes, which can lead to permanent disability, usually bring older people into the hospital. "Sometimes they might have a stroke but not come to the emergency room for two days," Dr Alghul said. "It is really sad." These patients can develop difficulties moving and spend the rest of their lives in bed or a wheelchair. The hospital does what it can to train family members and helpers in how to care for elderly patients. The set of daily tasks could be complex, Dr Alghul said.

"The family members, the daughters, must learn how to inject insulin, how to put nutrition through a feeding tube, how to take care of a tracheotomy [an opening in the neck for breathing]," he said. "This needs well-educated people." The ideal situation, he said, would see trained nurses available to care for the patients in their homes as well as additional facilities built for those who need a greater level of medical supervision.

"It is a shame to take your mother or father to a nursing home," Dr Alghul said. "It is an embarrassment to the family. "We still don't have a fully equipped nursing home in the UAE. We should call them rehabilitation centres where they can stay for short periods of time to get extended nursing until the family knows how to take care of them at home." There is little in the way of long-term care in the UAE. One such facility is The Old People's Home in Sharjah, which has 50 beds and only 35 patients. For them, it is a place of last resort.

"It is for people who don't have family," said Mariam al Qatari, the director of the home. "Maybe they were never married or never had a son or daughter. Maybe the family cannot take care of old people. Maybe they don't have the money." Some hospitals employ home-care teams to liaise with families in caring for elderly relatives. They spend up to six weeks training the primary caregiver, whether it is a member of the family or hired assistance.

Depending on the level of care required, a nurse from the team will visit once a week or once a month to assess the patient. "Patients with major medical problems need 24-hour nursing," said Jacqueline Hardwick, a senior charge nurse of clinical case management at Tawam Hospital. Tawam's home-care programme is available to all Emiratis through the thiqa insurance programme. Similar programmes can be found at other hospitals in Abu Dhabi, but not all have developed home-care systems. In Ras al Khaimah, health clinics send nurses to the homes of bedridden patients; in Dubai, care is privately organised.

While these programmes do a lot to assist families, Ms Hardwick worries that it is not enough. "It is a problem in this country that we do not have step-down units or nursing homes," she said. "If we did, a lot of patients could benefit from those facilities." Cultural changes in recent years were also affecting the traditional practice of familial care, she said. "Ten years ago, when I first got here, it was very family-orientated," she said. Because the UAE is growing, more people have jobs outside the home and the younger generation is less interested in looking after relatives.

"They want to go out and work," Ms Hardwick said. "They want to live their own lives." Ms Dhaheri, who cares for her grandmother, has no paying job, so she has the opportunity to help. She finds time to go out and visit friends when others are available to watch her grandmother. "It does require a lot of strength and fortitude," she said. "I didn't know that after the stroke she would end up this way."

Although her grandmother needs to be supervised 24 hours a day, Ms Dhaheri does not see her as a burden on the family. The idea of leaving her permanently in a facility horrifies her. She would miss all the time she gets to spend with her. "Mentally she is good," she said. "She has a sense of humour, and jokes and talks a lot." @Email:amcmeans@thenational.ae

Traces of Enayat

Author: Iman Mersal
Publisher: And Other Stories
Pages: 240


June 3: NZ Provincial Barbarians 7 Lions 13
June 7: Blues 22 Lions 16
June 10: Crusaders 3 Lions 12
June 13: Highlanders 23 Lions 22
June 17: Maori All Blacks 10 Lions 32
June 20: Chiefs 6 Lions 34
June 24: New Zealand 30 Lions 15 (First Test)
June 27: Hurricanes 31 Lions 31
July 1: New Zealand 21 Lions 24 (Second Test)
July 8: New Zealand v Lions (Third Test) - kick-off 11.30am (UAE)


Director: David Lowery

Stars: Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Joshua Pickering

Rating: 3/5

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

Dominic Rubin, Oxford

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Swollen glands


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Cricket World Cup League Two

Oman, UAE, Namibia

Al Amerat, Muscat



Oman beat UAE by five wickets

UAE beat Namibia by eight runs



Wednesday January 8 –Oman v Namibia

Thursday January 9 – Oman v UAE

Saturday January 11 – UAE v Namibia

Sunday January 12 – Oman v Namibia

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Apple Mac through the years

1984 - Apple unveiled the Macintosh on January 24
1985 - Steve Jobs departed from Apple and established NeXT
1986 - Apple introduced the Macintosh Plus, featuring enhanced memory
1987 - Apple launched the Macintosh II, equipped with colour capabilities
1989 - The widely acclaimed Macintosh SE/30 made its debut
1994 - Apple presented the Power Macintosh
1996 - The Macintosh System Software OS underwent a rebranding as Mac OS
2001 - Apple introduced Mac OS X, marrying Unix stability with a user-friendly interface
2006 - Apple adopted Intel processors in MacBook Pro laptops
2008 - Apple introduced the MacBook Air, a lightweight laptop
2012 - Apple launched the MacBook Pro with a retina display
2016 - The Mac operating system underwent rebranding as macOS
2020 - Apple introduced the M1 chip for Macs, combining high performance and energy efficiency
2022 - The M2 chip was announced
2023 -The M3 line-up of chip was announced to improve performance and add new capabilities for Mac.


Processor: Apple M2, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Silver, space grey, starlight, midnight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W or 35W dual-port power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable

Price: From Dh4,999


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Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Miss Granny

Director: Joyce Bernal

Starring: Sarah Geronimo, James Reid, Xian Lim, Nova Villa


(Tagalog with Eng/Ar subtitles)

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo (BMW B58)
Power: 340hp at 6,500rpm
Torque: 500Nm from 1,600-4,500rpm
Transmission: ZF 8-speed auto
0-100kph: 4.2sec
Top speed: 267kph

On sale: Now
Price: From Dh462,189
Warranty: 30-month/48,000k

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 261hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.5L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh129,999 (VX Luxury); from Dh149,999 (VX Black Gold)


Director: Abu Bakr Shawky 

Starring: Omar Alatawi, Tulin Essam, Ibrahim Al-Hasawi 

Rating: 4/5

How I connect with my kids when working or travelling

Little notes: My girls often find a letter from me, with a joke, task or some instructions for the afternoon, and saying what I’m excited for when I get home.
Phone call check-in: My kids know that at 3.30pm I’ll be free for a quick chat.
Highs and lows: Instead of a “how was your day?”, at dinner or at bathtime we share three highlights; one thing that didn’t go so well; and something we’re looking forward to.
I start, you next: In the morning, I often start a little Lego project or drawing, and ask them to work on it while I’m gone, then we’ll finish it together.
Bedtime connection: Wake up and sleep time are important moments. A snuggle, some proud words, listening, a story. I can’t be there every night, but I can start the day with them.
Undivided attention: Putting the phone away when I get home often means sitting in the car to send a last email, but leaving it out of sight between home time and bedtime means you can connect properly.
Demystify, don’t demonise your job: Help them understand what you do, where and why. Show them your workplace if you can, then it’s not so abstract when you’re away - they’ll picture you there. Invite them into your “other” world so they know more about the different roles you have.

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