When I was a kid and one of my siblings tried to tell me what to do, I would say, “You’re not the boss of me.” Now, I’m trying to tell my dog that.
As long as I’m moving around, she will find a spot of sunlight and nap, but let me sit down to work on the PC and she’ll start pawing my leg indicating that it’s time to (a) take her outside or (b) go to the living room and play with her.
If I try to ignore her, she will bark or woo-woo-woo. Since she is not normally a barky dog (unless the doorbell rings) I know that she is starting to get bossy with me. Telling her that she’s not the boss of me doesn’t work anymore than it did when I was a kid.
You would think that once a person retires, that would be the end of being bossed around. Demands on your time are a subtle way of someone bossing you. They are taking away your free time, and your choice as to how you want to spend your personal time.
I’ve finally worked my way up to saying “no” more often. I hate when someone won’t take no for an answer. I hate it worse when I change my firm no to a yes.
Once time is gone, you can never get it back. None of us knows how much time we have left. That can make us want to keep frantically busy, or it can make us want to slow down and enjoy time.
Have you ever known someone who finds out they have a short time to live, and he spends what time he has left working every spare minute to get his affairs in order? Or, you may know someone with a terminal disease that takes a cruise, travels across country to visit family, and lives life to the fullest. How we feel about time determines how we use it.
One of the saddest uses of time is when someone with dementia forgets how to do the things that once brought them pleasure. They forget their skills and can lose their initiative to do anything at all.
Well-meaning caregivers may treat a person with dementia like a child, rather than with the dignity they have earned. Instead of bossing a person with dementia, professional and family caregivers should seek cooperation through the power of suggestion. When the nursing home couldn’t get Jim to take a bath, it was all in the approach. Some would say, “You’ve got to take a bath now,” and didn’t work because Jim didn’t like to be bossed. “Do you want to take a bath?” got a “No” or a blank stare because those were the usual responses to a question. A cheerful, “Hey, it’s time to take your bath. You’ll feel so much better” resulted in willing cooperation.
Throughout the years of Jim’s dementia, I worked full-time, completed my bachelors degree, and took care of him at home and later the nursing home. People often asked me how I did it. My reply was “I have no idea.”
I’ve always liked to have plenty to do without being overwhelmed with a pile of projects that had to be done…yesterday. Lately, I’ve been staying home and now realize how many personal projects I need to finish, how much work needs to be done to upkeep a large house with a huge yard, the sheer volume of daily cooking and cleaning, and how little time I really have to relax.
Maybe life itself is the boss of me. It could be that I have too many bosses and they are playing tug-of-war with my time. My precious time.
The one person who should be the boss of me is the only one who isn’t. That person is me. Now, if I can just convince the dog.
Copyright © November 2020 by L.S. Fisher