Visionary Science Fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." It took me time and experience to understand the true weight of that statement. I am part of something called "The Oregon Trail Generation," a demographic that came of age just in time to witness the proliferation of home computers and video games, including the titular PC game "The Oregon Trail" where one could relive the experiences of the pioneers, including hunting for game and watching your family members die of dysentery, in 8 bit glory.
Because I was lucky enough to have had access to a computer as a child, I grew up a "digital native" learning the languages of technology as they themselves were being developed. I remained on the cutting edge as the internet was born and the social media age dawned.
Then, sometime in my thirties, I could not tell you exactly when, but technology started to pass me by. I would get frustrated when my phone would update and I couldn't find the app I wanted because the update had changed the appearance or location of the icon. Suddenly, things I was familiar with and comfortable using could be rearranged without my input or consent. That's when I realized, "One of these days, I’m not going to know how to operate this thing, I am going to need help." That day may not be today, but it will come eventually. Knowing that, the only relevant question becomes “Will I meet that day having done all I could to prepare for it?”
It is an unsettling feeling to be sure, to confront one's own inevitable decline. However, that existential angst melts away as action is taken to prevent the worst outcomes. When the time comes that you start to need help, it may already be too late for you to give your consent and instructions as to your wishes. The good news is, you are still capable of acting today and putting a plan in place before time runs out.
Make an appointment with an Estate Planning Attorney today to discuss your unique circumstances and find out what you can do to make sure that your Dignity and Autonomy are preserved while giving the caregivers in your life the tools that they need in order to support you and carry out your wishes. Don’t wait until it’s too late, call today, before your phone updates again!
Attorney Nathan Begley is an estate planning and probate attorney in Gresham, Oregon.