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What Seniors Should Know About Donating Blood

If your elderly loved one wants to donate blood and potentially help save someone’s life, you might have some concerns related to his or her age. However, the claim that seniors are too old to give blood is a myth. As long as your loved one meets certain eligibility requirements, there is nothing to be worried about. Summit at-home care experts want to help guide you through some of these requirements.

What Are the Basic Qualifications for Donating?

Though this can vary to some degree, there are a few things seniors should keep in mind if they want to give blood:

  • Hemoglobin must be at least 12.5 g/dL
  • Heart rate must be between 50 and 100 beats per minute
  • Temperature must be less than 99.5°F
  • Eight weeks must have passed since the last donation
  • Blood pressure must be less than 180/100

Can Someone with High Blood Pressure Donate?

Having hypertension does not prevent your loved one from donating blood. As long as your loved one’s blood pressure meets certain guidelines at the time of the donation, he or she is considered eligible. Common blood pressure medications, including ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers, also do not pose a problem with donating blood.

Can Someone with High Cholesterol Donate?

Seniors with high cholesterol can safely donate blood. Taking cholesterol-lowering medications, also known as statins, does not disqualify your loved one either. In fact, some studies have found donating blood may actually lower bad cholesterol levels.

Can Someone Taking Medication for an Enlarged Prostate Donate?

Medications used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy, also known as an enlarged prostate, can temporarily disqualify your loved one from donating blood. Seniors taking finasteride must wait one month following their last dose to donate blood, and those taking dutasteride must wait six months.

Can Someone with Diabetes Donate?

Diabetics are allowed to donate as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria. Only individuals who have used bovine-derived insulin are prohibited from donating blood due to concerns about Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Can Someone with a History of Heart Problems Donate?

Seniors with a history of heart attack or stroke who are fully recovered are allowed to donate blood, and they can also donate following angioplasty or heart surgery. However, if your loved one has an unstable heart condition requiring nitroglycerin for chest pains, he or she may be temporarily or permanently prohibited from donating if the condition is severe.

To learn more about the requirements for seniors who want to give blood, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of live-in and part-time care in Summit, and we also offer specialized dementia, Parkinson’s, and post-stroke home care Summit families trust. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.