Donating blood is a very noble act of charity. Your blood could go towards saving someone’s life. It is common for the elderly to think that their age prevents them from donating blood. However, age doesn’t matter when it comes to blood donation! As long as you meet the requirements set by the organizer of the blood donation drive, you will be eligible to donate blood. Oftentimes, these include being above 17 years old, being in general good health with no recent sicknesses, and minimally weighing 110 pounds. If you meet these criteria, you can be one of the many senior blood donors!
Physical Eligibility Requirements
Commonly, blood donation drives will have minimum physical fitness standards that prospective donors must meet before they are allowed to donate blood. To assess whether you are fit enough to donate blood, it is advisable that you have not experienced cold or flu-like symptoms a week or two before donating blood. Furthermore, if you have any chronic illnesses or long-term health complications, you may be prevented from donating blood as well. If you want to donate blood, it is recommended that you exercise regularly to maintain overall physical fitness. These can include going on hikes or making use of fitness centers and training programs.
If you are in generally good health, they will most likely proceed to do a quick physical check-up on a few areas. These include:
- Your pulse: This is to check if you have an irregular pulse or a heart condition.
- Your body temperature: This is to ensure that you have no fever.
- Your blood pressure: This is because having high or low blood pressure may cause complications during blood drawing.
- Your hemoglobin levels: This means the level of iron in your red blood cells. Insufficient hemoglobin may cause them to deny you from donating blood.
Prepare to Distract Yourself
Be warned if you are afraid of needles! Overcome your fear by looking away when the needle is inserted, or try to distract yourself by thinking of other things in your head. After the blood draw has begun, the entire process usually takes around eight to ten minutes. During this time, the donation centers often provide different forms of entertainment to keep you distracted. Just in case there are no television sets or music provided, consider bringing a tablet with pre-downloaded movies or listen to some music on your phone.
Ensure that You Have Transportation Arranged
Once the blood draw is done, you will be made to stay in the center under observation for around 10 to 15 minutes. Usually, they will provide some snacks like cookies or juices to re-energize you. It is key that you have adequate transportation plans as some people feel weaker after donating blood. If the journey is long, try to avoid physically tiring modes of transportation like cycling or walking. Instead, use a private transportation service to make your way home in peace.
Donating blood is highly encouraged and a great way to give back to your community. Your age doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are saving somebody else’s life!