Grandparents inspire business that helps elderly
BELINDA Brandt never had a desire for a career in aged care.
It came to her organically, by way of her just doing what she had been doing for years: caring for her grandparents and then her parents.
"I was very close to my grandparents when I was growing up,” she said.
"My mum's mum was Ivy, my dad's dad was Arthur. When they got older I started taking them to appointments, helped mum and dad help them get into aged care facilities when they needed it.
"We tried to keep them at home as long as we could, but eventually we had to get them into care and I helped with that process. Then my own parents became in need.
"Dad got early onset dementia, mum was devastated and had her own set of issues. I looked after them full-time as long as I could and then had to put dad into facilities.
"Then mum suffered a string of seizures. Eventually they died four weeks apart.”
After being so intimately involved with her grandparents and then her parents in old age and illness, it was only natural when a friend was faced with a dilemma involving her own mother, she called Belinda for help.
"I told her (friend) I had just gone through six lots of getting people into care facilities, I knew what to do.”
And so Belinda moved naturally into founding a small business she has called Ivy and Arthur, after her grandparents.
The business format is to help ageing and elderly people with the many problems they encounter and the difficult situations they find themselves in.
"In the beginning I just helped, that's how it started,” Belinda said. "Then I realised I should go about this properly and get everything up to speed with insurance etc.
"I could see there was an enormous need to help older people with things such as taking them out to appointments, sitting with them in doctors' surgeries, giving them a weekly outing, taking them out and dropping them off at lunches, or just hanging out with them.”
While Belinda is not a nurse or a professional aged care provider, she offers practical services and friendship for older people who may need them.
And she is willing to do anything to bring comfort and cheer to isolated people.
She even took one older gentleman out fishing, and she is especially good at keeping company over a cuppa.
"Many of the people I pick up to take out think they are the only ones in their neighbourhood who are in need,” she said.
"But there are others just a few streets away. I'd like to connect people. When my grandparents were ill, there was a sense of security (in the community).
"But these days everyone is busy and if older people want to do something such as run a small errand or get to an appointment they often have no one to take them.”
Belinda is the owner of a 1962EJ Holden, a delightful vintage car that some of her clients love to travel in, just for the fun of it.
"My dad used to restore vintage cars, I've had the Holden for 28 years. It's my main car, easy to get in and out of, but if people choose not to go in it that is fine. I have other cars.”