Donating blood is one of the most important ways you can give back to your community. Not only are blood donations crucial to maintaining care at hospitals, but your donation can also—quite literally—save a life. Whether you’ve been a regular blood donor all of your adult life or are just now recently gaining interest in becoming a blood donor, you may be wondering: Is it safe for seniors to donate blood?

In short, yes. While there is a minimum age requirement for giving blood, there is no maximum age restriction. However, before you head down to your local blood bank, here’s what you need to know about senior blood donations.

3 Things To Know Before Donating Blood

1. There’s a weight requirement

To be considered eligible to give blood, donors must weigh at least 110 pounds. If you don’t meet the weight requirements, giving blood could be too destabilizing for your body.

2. Your immune system shouldn’t already be compromised

If you currently are or have recently been sick, giving blood isn’t a good idea. Giving blood when you’ve recently had a cold or experienced flu-like symptoms could cause your illness to worsen or return.

3. Some states or blood banks may have additional regulations

While the American Red Cross doesn’t impose any formal age restrictions, some states and individual blood banks do have slightly different standards. For instance, some banks request that seniors over the age of 75 who are interested in giving blood bring a note from their doctor confirming their good health. If you’re unsure, call your local blood bank to double-check regulations.

What Can You Do if You Aren’t Healthy Enough To Give Blood

If you don’t meet the health requirements to donate blood—or simply aren’t comfortable doing so—there are still many ways you can support blood donation efforts and give back to your community.

The American Red Cross Blood Team is always looking for volunteers and additional support. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

  • Help recruit blood donations in your area by calling past donors and promoting upcoming blood drives
  • Volunteer at a drive by greeting and registering donors as they arrive
  • Deliver blood units from drives to laboratories to be tested
  • Donate money to support the Red Cross

If you’re still uncertain if donating blood is a healthy option for you, talk to your doctor. And remember, there are many other ways you can give back to your community, so don’t be afraid to seek alternatives for getting involved.

Looking for more tips on how to achieve the most fulfilling retirement possible? Check out our free resource, The Vitality Guide: Nutrition, Exercise and Health Care for Seniors.

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