April is “Be a Donor” month, an initiative encouraging Canadians who are thinking about becoming and organ or tissue donor to register. Canada is struggling to provide organs and tissue for life-saving transplants because there aren’t enough donations being made. Even though 90% of Canadians say they support organ and tissue donation, the reality is that only 20% are registered to their province’s organ and tissue registry.

There are a lot of good reasons behind organ donation. More than half of Canadians say they or a family member has needed blood in their lives. In 2016, of the 4500 people waiting for an organ transplant, only 2835 received one. One person’s organ and tissue donation has the ability to save up to 8 lives and benefit 75 individuals. While there are many myths and misconceptions about who is eligible to donate organs and tissue, being a senior is not a disqualifying factor.

You’re Never Too Old to Donate

Everybody has the potential to become an organ and tissue donor. There are a lot of factors that determine whether someone is eligible to donate, but age is not the barrier! Organ donations have been made by those in their 90s, and tissue has been donated at 103 years old.

Some might worry that they are not in perfect health, and that’s okay. Those with medical conditions are not discounted. Medical professionals will always evaluate whether someone is suitable for donation at the time of death.

Becoming an Organ and Tissue Donor

Organ donation is a difficult conversation for a family to have at the time of death or in emergencies. That’s why it’s so important for those who want to become donors to be proactive and register now. It can be just as important for potential donors to share their intentions with family and friends. The more potential donors share their desire to donate, the easier it is for families and doctors to ensure those wishes are carried out.

If you or a family member wants to sign up to become a donor, The Organ Project’s registration page helps you select your province and walks you through your next steps. Since healthcare in Canada is covered provincially, the donation process will depend on where you live.

Summary

Canada is falling behind other countries including the USA in donation rates. As a country that has an “opt-in” system, individuals need to proactively register in order to make a positive difference in dozens of lives, regardless of age! You and your family can register with Canadian Blood Services, Héma-Québec, or The Organ Project.

Are you a senior looking to register for organ and tissue donation? Tell us in the comments below.

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