I'm a Senior - Should I Be Donating Blood?
Tuesday, January 21, 2020

January is National Blood Donor Month

Should a senior think about donating?

The holiday rush provides excitement and happiness as we get to see friends and loved ones and enjoy a truly magical time. But, for the American Red Cross and other organizations tasked with getting people to donate blood for emergencies, it is the slowest time of the year. That means that the supplies are extremely low at the top of the year. Couple that with the fact that winter weather can make the commute to a donation center or pop-up location tough, and people don’t want to get sick with all of the flu bugs and viruses floating around, putting blood shortages at crisis levels.

The American Red Cross needs about 36,000 units of red blood cells every day. Those red blood cells are only able to be used for about 42 days or less, so there is a constant need for fresh donations to keep the supply where it needs to be. Over 6.8 million people donate blood every year in USA to combat that incredible need. When the average number of donations drops during the early months of the year, those supply numbers drop significantly. That’s why it’s all hands on deck during January and February. Does that mean that seniors should consider donating to help out?

The answer is “yes!” Giving back is a great way for seniors to get involved with their community. It is a safe way to make a difference and making a difference for others is a way to increase self-confidence and self-perception for seniors. That said, there are some things that seniors should keep in mind to stay safe when donating blood.

Keep your weight up

Believe it or not, there is a minimum weight requirement for blood donation. The magic number is 110 pounds. The reason for this is that someone weighing less than that amount may not be able to tolerate the removal of the amount of blood required by the Red Cross. You should also drink some extra water and eat a good, healthy meal before donating.

Wait until you’re healthy

A compromised immune system is not healthy enough for blood donation. It’s not about making others sick, it’s about what can happen to your body if you donate blood on a compromised system. Your symptoms could worsen, or if they are diminished and starting to get better, they could return, and you could find yourself sick all over again. As much as the Red Cross would love to have your donation, they don’t want you to risk your health. 

Check with local regulations

Don’t go to your blood bank without checking with them first to see what their policies are for senior donations. Sometimes you will need a note from your doctor to show that you are healthy. The last thing you want to do is brave the elements to get to your donation center only to be told that you won’t be able to donate.

McGregor PACE is proud to help seniors find ways to contribute to their community. Visit us today and let us talk to you about opportunities to be independent and give back at the same time! We look forward to helping you stay in your home longer! Contact us for more information!


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