Nancie Dorjath fights for quality senior care
● By Tim
Nancie and the Dorjath Law Center therapy dog, "Baby Girl" visit with and comfort Asbury Gardens resident, Ginny Seiler.
The seeds that grew into the Dorjath Law Center were planted long ago. Growing up on the far northwest side of the city of Chicago, Nancie (Golnick) Dorjath lived in a multigenerational family home along with her parents, two sisters, and her Busia (a Polish-American endearment for grandma). Busia (Irene Golnick) was not only a grandparent, but also a dear friend and confidante for a maturing young girl. She listened to her granddaughter, offered guidance and, along with school teachers and parents, helped teach Nancie lessons about life. It was a wonderful relationship. One such “lesson” learned from the time that Nancie spent with this wonderful family member was that no matter what age we may be, everyone deserves understanding and compassion.
As Irene grew older and faced many of the health concerns that all too often face those in our senior population, she soon needed more care than could be provided at home. She had difficulty walking and doing other normal activities of daily living, and her situation grew steadily more severe. A local nursing home was found to assist with her care. Though they certainly were responsible for her daily needs and maintenance, Nancie was certain that so much more could have been done for her beloved Busia. “I was so unhappy with the level of care and attention that she received. I strongly believed that much more compassion, understanding and concern could have been shown to such a valued member of my family. I swore that someday I would help others avoid these same problems.” Dorjath states.
"After I married, I also developed a wonderful relationship with my husband's grandmother, Kathie Dorjath. Kathie was called Oma, a German word for grandmother. Our family learned so much from Oma. This was a woman who had raised a family on her own while living through a world war, transitioning to a new country, learning a new language and so much more.” shares Dorjath.
Kathie Dorjath was an intelligent and compassionate woman. Her work ethic was well known to the family and she loved these similar traits that she saw in Nancie. Dorjath remembers that “Similar to my Busia, Oma experienced a decline in health as she aged and also required in-home care followed by nursing home care. What struck me again was how so little discussion took place between individuals involved in her care and the family. We are talking about services that often cost an individual all of their life savings to afford, and again, I just thought that more could be done.”
“These two wonderful influences on my life taught me so very much,” Dorjath says with a smile. “I was by this time an attorney, specializing in estate planning and a bit of real estate. So I decided to change the focus of my legal career to a small, often misunderstood, field called Elder Law.” Dorjath now has been practicing law for more than fifteen years. Elder Law attorneys work primarily with and specialize in the needs of people as they age and people with disabilities. They meet the needs of their clients, often seniors and/or their children and extended family members, by utilizing a variety of legal tools and techniques. They keep abreast of issues and topics affecting the senior community and enlist the help of other professionals where needed to make certain that all of their clients’ needs are addressed.
For example, an Elder Law attorney might counsel clients about general estate planning issues, handling the preparation of wills and creating and funding trusts. At the same time they may also discuss planning for incapacity or long term care needs. “I might assist clients in coordinating private and public resources, like Medicaid, to help pay for the cost of care while protecting some assets. I can help with locating the appropriate type of care, or offer tools to help them choose the right facility or home care option for their family member,” Dorjath says. Nancie is also a Veteran’s Administration (VA) Accredited Attorney, so she can help aging military veterans with their planning and care needs as well. “Far too often I find that our brave military veterans, who have given so much for our country, do not realize the benefits that may be available to them to help finance some of their health needs. I can help with the estate planning tools and coordinate with these benefits.”
“I started The Dorjath Law Center in order to make absolutely certain that everyone's senior family members would be treated with dignity and respect. We have a saying in our office that ‘Life is beautiful, and your life story matters! That really gets to the heart of how I feel.” Nancie, her staff, and the very popular therapy dog, Baby Girl, can be found at The Dorjath Law Center, which is located at 106 W. Wilson Street, Suite 3, in downtown Batavia. What makes Nancie different is that she is willing to travel to visit clients in their homes or at senior care facilities. She also maintains satellite offices in Oakbrook and Cary as well. “I know that not everyone can come to me. I remember the deteriorating health of my beloved Busia and Oma. An inability to get around should not preclude someone from having good legal representation, so I go to them when necessary,” she said. “I want to know their story and to help them plan for a dignified and compassionate future or help them get out of a current crisis. I love what I do, and there is never a dull moment!”
More information about the Dorjath Law Center, located at 106 W. Wilson can be found at getelderlawhelp.com and Nancie can be reached via phone at 630-761-3600.