The National Institute on Aging and NIH are working with a team of federal agencies to encourage older adults to register as organ donors. Led by the Health Resources and Services Administration and launched during Older Americans Month in May 2012, the new campaign seeks to increase knowledge and interest about organ donation to people 50 and older, who comprise the majority of people receiving organ transplants.
Last year, 60 percent of the people receiving organ transplants were 50 and older. Today, more than 114,000 people of all ages are on the waiting list for an organ.
At the same time, more than 99 million people in the U.S. today are age 50 or older. But, more than 20 percent believe that they are too old to register as an organ donor.
The website www.organdonor.gov now features information on organ donation geared toward people 50+. The site attempts to dispel myths about organ donation with advancing age and provides answers to several frequently asked questions. At www.organdonor.gov, you can find specific instructions on how to register to be an organ donor in your state. You can also register for organ donation when you renew your driver’s license.
“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. The NIA joins the effort to encourage people 50 and older to think about organ donation and the power such a gift has to save lives and health of family, friends, and neighbors.”