A few days ago, an email landed in my inbox with a subject line about old age and organ donation. Huh? Without having given it much thought, I had assumed old organs were probably not useful, probably worn out.
According to the National Institute on Aging, I am wrong:
“'Age doesn’t make you ineligible to sign up, nor do you have to be in perfect health,' says NIA Deputy Director Marie A. Bernard, M.D. 'Your ability to donate is determined by a doctor at the time of death.
“'More people today are living healthier lives and know about the importance of living and eating well and exercising,' Dr. Bernard continues. 'That means we’re in better shape than ever. We’re also able to be donors and recipients at later ages than anyone might have imagined.'”
In many states, you can register to be an organ donor by checking a box when you renew your driving license but you can also register online with your state's organ donor registry. Start here for that.
As you might imagine, a large percentage of the people receiving transplants are 50 and older – nearly 60 percent of recipients in 2012. But only 32 percent of donors were were that age. See more about that here.
According to the National Institute of Aging, 18 people a day in the U.S. die while waiting for a transplant. Here's a little video about age and organ transplant:
There is more information along with a bunch of links to answer many questions here.
My drivers license lists me as an "anatomical donor" but I have now also registered with the online form for my state so that if I die in a hospital they won't need to hunt for my license. You can do that too. It a good thing to do.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marcy Belson: Where Are You, Zsa, Zsa?