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What Your Elderly Loved One Should Know About Giving Blood

Though there are many myths surrounding the requirements for aging adults who want to donate blood, in reality there are very few limitations to this process, most of which have nothing to do with age. If your senior loved one wants to give blood, Bridgewater at-home care experts have a few details to share about how his or her health might affect this decision.

Basic Qualifications

Many older adults refrain from donating blood out of fear they are too old or will be disqualified because of their health or medications they take. As a general rule, healthy adults over age 17 can donate blood as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • The last donation was at least 8 weeks ago
  • Blood pressure is less than 180/100 
  • Heart rate is between 50 and 100 bpm
  • Temperature is less than 99.5°F
  • Hemoglobin is greater than 12.5 g/dL
  • Weight is at least 110 lbs


Medications seniors commonly use to treat hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes are typically not a disqualification for donating blood. However, the use of the following medications can result in a temporary or permanent disqualification:

  • Aspirin and other NSAIDs – Seniors must wait 48 hours from the last dose if donating platelets
  • Finasteride – This medication is often used to treat an enlarged prostate and male pattern baldness, and seniors must wait one month after the last dose to donate
  • Dutasteride – Also used to treat an enlarged prostate, seniors must wait 6 months after the last dose before donating
  • Insulin – Seniors using natural bovine insulin are permanently disqualified from donating 

Cardiovascular Conditions

Seniors who have had a heart attack or stroke can still donate blood, but they must be fully recovered and not require ongoing medication like nitroglycerin to control chest pain. Seniors who have recovered from cardiac surgery or angioplasty are also permitted to donate.

Other Health Conditions

With certain exceptions, most other health conditions affecting seniors are not a barrier to donating blood. This includes:

  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Ulcer disease

Though these conditions may not affect your loved one’s ability to give blood, some of them can have a considerable impact on his or her quality of life. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available 24/7 to help your loved one manage a variety of conditions, and we also offer specialized stroke, Parkinson’s, and dementia home care Bridgewater families trust. For more information on our elderly care services, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to request a no-obligation consultation.