Was one of your resolutions for the New Year to volunteer or help others more? Well, one way to get a head start on this resolution is by becoming a blood donor. January is National Blood Donor Month, and donating blood is an easy way to make an impact and help save lives. It is actually a common misconception that seniors shouldn’t or can’t donate blood. According to the American Red Cross, the general requirements for blood and platelet donors are as follows:
- The donor must be in good general health and feeling well
- The donor must be at least 17 years old in most states, or 16 years old with parental consent if allowed by state law
- The donor must weigh at least 110 pounds
Other aspects of a donor’s health history are evaluated before a donation can occur, and each donor receives a “mini physical” measuring temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin. As seniors, we shouldn’t be discouraged from donating blood if we fit the above criteria. In fact, if you’re able, I would encourage you all to donate in order to help save a life (or two)! After all, the American Red Cross estimates that one donation can potentially help more than one patient, and every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood.
If you’re looking to make an impact, check out the American Red Cross’ website, which has helpful information on the blood donation process and where to find local blood drives. Also, be sure to remember to bring a copy of your medication list with you when you go, which is something you should always have in your wallet anyway!
Lastly, don’t forget that blood platelets are also needed. If you would like to consider this type of donation or learn more about it, most blood centers (and the Red Cross) can answer your questions. Be sure to share this information with other seniors. Maybe you can even go donate blood or platelets together!