Monday, January 15, 2018

A Millennial's Perspective to Combating Phone Addiction

Elizabeth D. Johnson
Legal Assistant 
There are many things that differ between my generation and my mother’s but the one I’d like to discuss is the well-known smart phone obsession. My mother is a very smart woman but she just doesn’t get her phone like I do (no offense, mom). Honestly, she is lucky because it’s easier for her generation to shut down and step away from their “entire world in your pocket” device than it is for mine. The average person checks their phone 110-150 times per day! So, with that being said, how do I successfully cut back on cell phone usage and not start nervously twitching? Why do I even want to do this in the first place? Well, I’d like to see if I even can plus I’ve been using a smart phone for a good 10 years at least and my anxiety/stress have only gotten worse. Coincidence? Probably not.

So how do I actually do this? Where do I even begin? First things first, I’ve got to start with social media, i.e. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. I have started setting up a shortcut that with three clicks of the home button, turns my screen black and white, hopefully making social media “less attractive”. Then, I will designate a certain time in the day to check my social media accounts. For example, when I get home from work the first thing I like to do is plop on the couch and scroll through everything, so that will be my Instagram and Snapchat time. Facebook is something I care less about since it really only connects me to the people I vaguely remember from high school. So, I will delete this app from my phone and check Facebook during my lunch break on a computer.

One tip I read about and may (or may not, let’s be real) try is to not use your phone as an alarm clock. I have my phone as my alarm clock now and therefore it is the first thing I touch in the morning and I see all of my text and social media notifications and lay in bed for 10 minutes longer than I need to just to check everything. Plus, an actual alarm clock set further away from the bed might motivate me to get up instead of staring into an abyss of what activities my friend’s brother’s cousin got into last night. Another tip that I came up with on my own, inspired by being in group chats and hearing a constant buzz or beep every 3 seconds, was to completely silence my phone if I’m not expecting any important calls or texts. I don’t even have the vibration on to really keep the annoyance at bay. I also have specific ringtones for people like my boyfriend and mom so that if I hear it go off I will know who it is and whether or not it may be urgent.

I don’t have the best history with completing projects such as the time I said I was going vegan and then bought a block of cheese the next day. So, I don’t think I’m going to do great with this project but if it helps me combat even a little bit of the obsession, then it was well worth it.  

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Importance of Having a Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Directive

Barbara K. Armstrong
I wanted to write a little bit about the importance of having a durable financial power of attorney and medical directive.  A week doesn’t go by when I do not receive a call from a frantic spouse, child or family member, who is concerned that a family member has become incapable of making decisions for himself (herself).  They can’t assist in taking care of the bills, assist in making medical decision, etc.  At this point, it may be too late for the incapacitated adult to sign a power of attorney and/or medical directive and a guardian/conservator will have to be appointed.  This process can take months to finalize as there are many steps involved.  Then there is the cost associated with attorney’s fees for filing the petition and various documents with the court and the fees for the guardian ad litem that is appointed by the Court for the incapacitated individual. 

There is much more involved with the establishment of a guardian and/or conservator which not only is not only expensive, it can be intrusive in the lives of all that are affected in the process. 

I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to have a power of attorney and medical directive in place.  A power of attorney authorizes a trusted individual to take care of any financial affairs of the incapacitated individual and the medical directive allows for an appointed agent to assist in making medical care decisions in the event that an individual cannot make those choices for himself (herself). 

The most common reasons I hear for not having these documents in place are:
  • Too expensive;
  • Haven’t gotten around to it;
  • Not sure I can trust anyone;
  • I don’t need it.

Whatever reason you have for not having a power of attorney or medical directive in place is not a good one.  Anyone over the age of 18 years should have such documents in place if they have the capacity to do so.  If not, they are rolling the dice and gambling with who will take care of them in the event they are not able to make decisions for themselves any longer.   So, if you do not have these documents in place, please contact us or another attorney to discuss.  The process in establishing these documents is so much easier and less expensive than the process of court proceedings in establishing a guardianship/conservatorship.  The choice is yours.