Donating blood is a meaningful way to make a difference in the community by giving back to those in need. By rolling up your sleeves and donating blood, you have the power to save lives and leave a lasting impact on others. For seniors living in a retirement community in Squamish, donating blood can be an empowering, rewarding experience. But before rushing out the door to the nearest blood donation centre, there are a few important things to consider first to find out if you might be an eligible donor. Continue reading to learn the ropes about donating blood as a Canadian senior citizen and to find out if you could be an eligible donor.

Health Considerations

As a senior citizen, you might be wondering if donating blood is safe for you. The good news is that for most seniors, donating blood is perfectly safe and can even have positive health benefits. However, it’s essential to consider any underlying health conditions or medications you may be taking that could affect your eligibility to donate. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider first before donating blood to make sure it’s the right choice for you. 

Eligibility Criteria

In Canada, blood donation centres have specific criteria that donors must meet to ensure the safety of both the donors and the recipients. While age is no longer a barrier to donating blood for seniors, there are other factors to consider, such as overall health, weight, and medical history. Generally, Canadian seniors are eligible to donate blood as long as they meet the following criteria: 

  • Be in good health and feeling well on the day of the donation
  • Be cancer free for a minimum of 5 years
  • Have not donated blood in the past 56 days (for whole blood donations) or 112 days (for plasma donations)
  • Be willing to undergo a brief health screening to ensure eligibility and determine blood type
  • Have no risk factors for infectious diseases, such as recent travel to certain countries or exposure to certain illnesses
  • Be able to provide valid identification and complete a donor questionnaire honestly and accurately

Ineligibility for Donation

In some cases, seniors may not be eligible to donate blood. A few examples of conditions that can inhibit this eligibility include: antibiotics; experiencing a cold or flu; low blood sugar; recent vaccinations; recent visits to certain travel destinations; certain types of cancer (depending on the type and time of treatment); and medication. To review the list of medications that are and are not acceptable to be eligible to donate, visit the ABCs of eligibility on the Canadian Blood Services website. 

Benefits of Donating

Not only does donating blood save lives and support patients in need of transfusions due to illness, injury, or surgery, but it also offers several health benefits for donors themselves. Here are just a few of the reasons why donating blood may be a win-win situation for seniors of a retirement community in Squamish:

  • Heart Health: Donating blood can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering iron levels in the blood. High iron levels have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, so by donating blood, seniors can keep their hearts healthy and happy.
  • Improved Blood Flow: Regular blood donation stimulates the production of new blood cells, which can improve blood flow and circulation throughout the body. This can lead to increased energy levels, improved oxygen delivery to tissues, and a general sense of well-being. 
  • Free Health Check: As part of the blood donation process, donors receive a mini health check, including a brief medical history review, blood pressure measurement, and hemoglobin screening. This provides an opportunity for seniors to check in on their health and receive feedback from healthcare professionals.
  • Sense of Purpose and Community: Donating blood offers seniors a sense of purpose and a meaningful way of contributing to the community. While donating, seniors also have the added social benefits of connecting with like-minded individuals and friendly healthcare professionals. This helps to strengthen community bonds, promoting a sense of fulfillment and belonging.

Continue Exploring

Interested in donating blood or getting involved with Canadian blood services? Visit the Canadian Blood Services website to learn more about the different types of donations that you can make, to take the eligibility quiz, and to find a blood donation centre near you. 

Curious about what life is like at an independent and assisted living community in Squamish? Book a tour of Shannon Falls Retirement Residence to view the suite of your choice, and to learn more about the services and amenities that make seniors’ living comfortable and rewarding here. Residents of Shannon Falls enjoy spacious, condo-like suites in a variety of floorplans, and enhancements like organized events and social activities, professional maintenance, 24-hour staffing, and handcrafted dining options.