‘We really love the Zest Care team because we are always able to travel around with someone we know!’
Brett and Thongvone recently celebrated their seven-year wedding anniversary, having met through Brett’s sister, who is a friend of Thongvone.
‘As soon as I met Thongvone something just went click!’ Brett tells us with pride.
Their fondness for one another shines through when you speak to them. The couple shared that Thongvone was born without sight while Brett lost his vision when he was six.
Before joining Zest Care, the couple faced challenges accessing the community and living independently.
‘My family worried about me travelling on my own, being a girl and blind as well, they were very protective,’ Thongvone explains. ‘My brother and sister always had to take me and weren’t keen on me going places by myself.’
Brett had a similar experience, whereby as an adult he only had the option of catching the school bus into town, which came at 8am in the morning before he’d have to wait until 3pm for the bus to take him home again. This limited his opportunities for different activities and further isolated him from the community.
But now with Zest Care’s Support Workers the couple can access the community, go shopping and do activities at any time that suits them.
‘We can do things ourselves now!’ Thongvone says with excitement. ‘And my family have more trust now that I can travel around with someone I know, they know I’m safe.’
The couple talk about going out to shops, cafes and restaurants, the park, doctor’s appointments and even Featherdale Wildlife Park with their Support Worker Ansiah.
The couple were at their local park recently with Anisah, who pointed out to Thongvone that there was a flying fox.
‘Anisah said “oh there’s a flying fox! Do you want to go on it?” And I said, “Oh yeah we’ll have a try!” And it was good fun!’
‘They also had a bed that you lie down on and swing it,’ Brett adds, barely able to suppress his laughter. ‘And we got to swing Thongvone!’
Through the support provided by Zest Care, clients like Brett and Thongvone can live with independence and control over their own lives. And they’re clearly having fun along the way!
‘She’s awesome!’ Brett exclaims about Anisah.
‘And funny!’ Thongvone quickly adds. ‘She’s fun and a great personality to work with!’
And what does Anisah say about working with the couple?
‘They are very naughty!’ are her first words, making Brett and Thongvone burst out laughing.
‘We have fun, we have a good sense of humour and we have the same things in common.’
‘We are all very adventurous with food,’ Anisah continues. ‘And we go to different restaurants to try different food together!’
We asked what the couple would say to people considering getting support from Zest Care, or people thinking about becoming a Support Worker.
‘Definitely go for it!’ Brett says. ‘Not only does it help you get out and about, but you learn to trust that person. You learn that they are special in the way they help you.’
‘I’d really like to say to those who want to become a Support Worker go for it, don’t be afraid! Thongvone says. ‘You make the lives of clients like us more fun and independent!’