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Once the lifeline of every family and the backbone of America, are often tossed aside and forgotten after they have outlived what is considered to be their usefulness to society. Many are left sick, alone and forgotten in nursing homes. A few have the rare opportunity to spend their remaining days in their own homes or in retirement communities. Fewer still are taken into the homes of loved ones. Consequently, when Christmas time rolls around, many have no one with which to celebrate the holiday season. This year make a senior feel special and cared for by getting them a thoughtful Christmas gift. Here are just a few gift ideas:

1. Make or purchase a shawl or throw for warmth. Senior citizens often live on a fixed income and can’t afford to run the heater all of the time. A warm fleece or tapestry throw will be welcome for laps, and a cozy shawl will keep shoulders toasty.

2. Give them a space heater or make a donation to the electric or gas bill to ensure that heat will be available when it is needed.

3. Present them with the gift of companionship. Agree to call or visit a senior at least once a month for a year. If you can’t commit the time, contact A First Name Basis (AFNB) at 337-233-4778 to make arrangements for the senior to receive the companionship of one of our caregivers for a period of time.

4. Put together a box of food goodies. Choose easy to cook items like soup, frozen dinners, vegetables and packaged goods. Add in some soft cookies, hard candy and other treats that will make them feel special. You could also have A First Name Basis provide meal preparation for the senior.

5. Get them a maid service for a period of time. Make arrangements with A First Name Basis to perform light housekeeping duties or with a professional service like Merry Maids to perform heavier housekeeping services for them. It could be once a month or only a couple of times a year.

6. Give them a coupon book that you put together. Coupons might include things like taking them out to lunch, helping them with the laundry, taking them for doctors’ appointments or just for a walk. You can choose services that you are willing to perform or you can contact A First Name Basis to make arrangements for their caregivers to provide the services.

7. Take the senior out for Christmas dinner or invite him or her to your house to spend time with your family. Even one less day alone will mean the world to the person, and you might be surprised at how much you enjoy it as well!