North Shore Senior Center will be closed Monday, January 21 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday

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Seniors Can Save Lives by Donating Blood

January 04, 2017


Every day, about 36,000 units of red blood are used to save lives across the United States. This blood is vital for cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, and victims of accidents. Although 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent does so each year according to Griswold Home Care. With January being National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, AARP points out that seniors should donate blood because odds are they'll need it themselves someday.


You may be wondering why January? Well, according to the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals, blood is historically in relatively short supply during the holiday season and winter months in general. This is because many regular donors travel for the holidays, don't want to commute in lousy weather or get sick. As it is, there's always a need for more blood donations, but this busy season can be particularly challenging for recruiting donors.


One of the challenges recruiters face is the common myth that seniors are “too old” to donate blood. However, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements, there is no upper age limit on blood donation. Your blood can save somebody’s life (actually, you can save more than one life with just a single donation) just as well as a younger person’s blood can!


In general, you can donate blood if:

  • You are at least 17 years old
  • You weigh at least 100 pounds
  • You are in good health (a mini physical exam will take place at the blood donation location)
  • It’s been at least eight weeks since your last blood donation

Usually, you cannot donate blood if:

  • You had hepatitis when you were 11 years or older
  • You have received a blood transfusion within the last year
  • You are pregnant, or have been pregnant within the last six weeks
  • You have gotten a tattoo within the last year
  • You are participating in certain high-risk behaviors

AARP also notes that it's actually easier for older individuals to give blood comfortably and that each time you donate you get a quick physical. Interestingly enough, seniors are less prone to experiencing dizziness or wooziness after donating. With that in mind, healthy seniors can easily become regular blood donors and selflessly help others. If you've been thinking about donating blood for a while, there's no better time than January during National Blood Donor Month.