Sentenced to life with love — documentary photography

The non fleeting years of the elderly in a Cairo senior home.

︎ ︎ Cairo

With the faint smell of perfume & sanitizer in the room, Farida sits and stares blankly into space. Her TV mumbles in the background.

She is one of 63 residents of the senior home. Like most residents here, Farida is senile & unaware of her surroundings.

She relies on her caregiver “Dawlat” to be able to move, eat, sleep and bathe.

read more about the story below.

digital photography.


There’s a faint smell of perfume lurking in the air. Even though everything seems still, with the dim light from behind the curtain hitting every star on the wall, the room appears to be full of life. Her look is the most striking in the room, however. Farida sits in a corner, legs up, head held low. Her eyes twinkle like the paper stars glued onto the wall behind her, but her gaze wanders. Farida sits here every day. She is unable to communicate except with lifts of
her head and a smile. She needs around the clock-care, which her caregiver Dawlat provides.

Farida is one of 63 residents of Dar Fouad, an elderly home on the outskirts of Cairo.

Although not for profit, Dar Fouad provides exceptional care for a handsome fee of 600 dollars per month. A whopping amount for a middle class Egyptian family. However, everyone here takes pride in their work. Many of the caregivers had no previous experience with the elderly but have become close acquaintances with the residents. Most of them spend every day, around the clock, feeding, dressing, bathing and supervising medical prescriptions for their assigned elder. Farida, like most of the elders here, is senile. She is only fully present when her caregiver, Dawlat, is in direct contact with her. “She knows who’s here, but I like to think she doesn’t always want to show it, I can see it in her eyes,”says Dawlat.

Days here may seem monotonous, but they are filled with love and kindness. Medical assistance, exercise routines as well as special diets are provided. A stark contrast to many other elderly care facilities that might provide rooms or beds at a lower rate. As with all senior homes in Egypt, it can be a struggle for someone with little means to find a place.

Many other homes in Cairo provide a room for as little as 95 dollars or for free, but lack medical care. Several even lack the ability to take on a disabled resident. The demographic of 55+ years constitutes over 10% of Egypt’s population, many of whom can rapidly become in need of medical assistance.

At Dar Fouad every day is a blessing to both residents and their caregivers. Farida’s caretaker says she is thankful for every day Farida is able to respond & remain healthy. “We all know old age is difficult, but old age is also our final step before heaven, it needs to be appreciated. I wish everyone could witness it as the miracle it truly is.”