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Seniors Feeling The Need To Feel Needed

Often senior citizens, especially those with declining mobility and loss of independence often find themselves feeling less than worthy contributing members of society.  Time and time again, I’ve heard it, “I wish I could do more to help.” From my own personal experience, I can say with certainty, it’s very difficult for an elderly family member to ask for help. When roles are reversed between parents and children, it can be an emotionally charged, awkward time, especially when a huge part of the parents’ happiness has been derived from having the capability of “giving” or helping their child. Although not for everyone, and certainly not without the advice from their physician, there is way for seniors to give, and in a big way! About 4,000,000 persons in the United States will need blood this year, which corresponds to one person every 12 seconds.

Who Can Donate Blood? You must be at least 17 years old to donate to the general blood supply, or 16 years old with parental/guardian consent, if allowed by state law. According to the American Red Cross, there is no upper age limit for blood donation as long as you are well with no restrictions or limitations to your activities. All donors must be in good health. You can still donate if you are taking medication although it depends on your state of health and the type of medication.
Who cannot donate blood? Some people may be deferred from donating blood temporarily or permanently.

World Blood Donor Day logo by *KeeperOfTheGreyGates on deviantART

Some of these reasons are:
Temporarily Deferred:
People who
Have had a heart attack in the last six to twelve months.
Have had malaria in the last three years.
Have visited areas where malaria is found in the last year.
Have received blood, plasma or other types of components in the last year.
Have been tattooed in the last year.
Have had cardiac surgery in the last year or those who have not completely recuperated from the surgery and who are taking cardiovascular medicine.
Have been exposed to someone with hepatitis within the last year.
Are not feeling well the day of the blood donation.
Have taken antibiotics within the last 24 to 72 hours.
Women who are pregnant or have had an abortion in the last 6 weeks are temporarily deferred.

Permanently Deferred:
People who
Have had hepatitis at age eleven or older.
Have received chemotherapy or radiation for the treatment of cancer.
Are at high risk of contracting the HIV virus/AIDS.
Due to current concerns with bovine spongiform encephalopathy and new variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, blood centers are deferring donors who spent any cumulative period of 3 or more months in the United Kingdom from 1980 through 1996. Please consult your regional blood center regarding other possible deferral policies.

Aspects, other than the age of each potential donor’s health history are discussed as part of the donation process before any blood is collected. Each donor receives a brief examination during which temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin are measured.
What to Expect in the Procedure:
The procedure is done by a skilled, specially trained technician and takes 5 to 10 minutes. You will rest and be served refreshments. Plan to spend about 35 to 45 minutes at the blood drive. The procedure is relatively painless other than a little sting when the needle is inserted, but no pain during the donation. One pint of blood volume or plasma is replaced within 24 hours. Red cells need about 4 to 8 weeks for complete replacement. Most people feel just fine after the procedure.  Donors who know what to expect and have eaten regular meals before donating are fine. After donating, drink extra fluids for the next 24 hours.

The Benefits of Donating Blood
Your blood can make a difference between an adequate supply of blood reserves or a shortage. Donations usually drop off during summer months and current supplies are needed. I can’t think of anything more satisfying for a healthy senior citizen wanting the experience of feeling needed, than having the opportunity to “give the gift of life.”

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Chicago and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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