Frequent questions often arise during Ramadan, with concerned families asking whether the elderly can fast.
Seniors with stable health conditions can fast during Ramadan if they adhere to medical recommendations by doctors, an expert from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) told Qatar News Agency on Sunday.
Dr. Hanan Al Yazidi, Family medicine consultant at HMC’s Home Health Care Department, responded to questions often raised by families concerned about the elderly during Ramadan.
The expert noted that while each case varies, the elderly can fast if their health condition is stable, stressing the importance of taking into account their required medications.
“One must consult their doctor regarding their medications and liquid consumption, especially those suffering from kidney failure,” Dr. Al Yazidi saud.
The HMC doctor added that close attention must be paid to the fasting elderly’s nutrition, placing great emphasis on the need to avoid fatty foods to prevent indigestion.
With the elderly being at high risk of diabetes Dr. Al Yazidi recommended that they reduce or completely cut their sugar intake and consume healthy alternatives instead.
At least 33% of adults aged 65 or older have diabetes.
She also recommended ensuring the elderly go for light walks everyday to avoid weight gain, given the health complications that come with such issues for the vulnerable age group.
Despite this, there are cases in which Muslims are exempt from fasting during Ramadan, as per Islamic rulings.
One fatwa says that an old person could be exempted from fasting if they are facing a loss of consciousness or simply due to their age.
However, the individual who falls under the second category must expiate for breaking their fast by feeding a poor person for every day they did not fast.
“The pen is lifted (stopped from writing the deeds) from three kinds of people: a sleeping person until he wakes up, a mentally-handicapped or insane person till he can reason, and a child till he reaches the age of puberty,” Prophet Muhammad said in one hadith, or narration.