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Anne-Louise Underwood

Brisbane
Bachelor of Music, Queensland Conservatorium of Music
Understanding Dementia MOOC, University of Tasmania Wicking Centre for Dementia Research
Co-Founder
When dementia comes knocking, independence is threatened, and family and carers involved in supporter roles can experience substantial and growing levels of physical, emotional and financial burden.

The resulting burn-out can result in premature admission to residential care for people living with dementia and other disabilities that affect their ability to manage daily activities.

Almost certainly the results are a diminution in quality of life for the individual, feelings of guilt and worry for family, and increasing stress on an already overwhelmed residential care sector.

When my mother developed Alzheimer's dementia, I went from daughter to Carer, and the relentless memory loss and increasing lack of ability to manage daily activities posed a significant threat to her independence.

To help her continue to live independently and to alleviate our mounting carer overwhelm, my husband and I created a live Noticeboard system that displays daily appointments and other important information that can be instantly updated by multiple people from anywhere.

The results were immediate and have been long-lasting - so much so that we realised we could help others, and decided to commercialize the system.

We now work closely with people living with dementia and other disabilities and their families, and with paid in-home care providers who can be directly involved in the management of information.

As a result of my involvement, I have developed a deep commitment to growing dementia-friendly communities, and am actively involved in carer-advocacy having participated in multiple workshops and national research to better inform decisions about supporting families and carers of people living with dementia.

I am uniquely positioned as both the Carer of a loved one with dementia and the developer of a simple solution - one of the four national Decoding Dementia 2019 winners - to add to this important discussion.

Previous to joining my husband's business, as Queensland Manager for international chamber music presenter Musica Viva Australia, I was responsible for the management and delivery of concerts from the finest musicians from around the world, and was also responsible for the introduction and roll-out of the prestigeous Musica Viva In Schools program in Queensland.

In 2007 I left that much-loved role to join my husband in his software development company - initially involved in the roll out of one of Australia's first automated text message appointment reminder services, and subsequently working with small businesses and organisations to leverage the power of text messaging for customer service and marketing - a role I continue to enjoy.
Skiing, fitness, reading, being a mother and grandmother
Family and carers involved in the support of people living with dementia and other disabilities can experience substantial and growing levels of physical, emotional and financial burden.

This was me.

With the creation of Membo Noticeboard which was the result of my personal experience of supporting my mother in her fight to retain independence with the onset of dementia, my Story and my Experience have merged into one.

Before Membo Noticeboard we lived in what can only be described as a kind of hell.

My mother was living with increasing confusion, panic and worry because of her memory loss.

Her constant daily phone calls to confirm information were resulting in such feelings of overwhelm that it was hard to see how we could continue to support her as her memory continued to decline.

High care would have been the next option to consider – a terrible result for everyone – but Membo literally changed our lives!

It has delivered stability and certainty for my mother which has enabled independence and dignity and supported her to live independently for longer.

The reduction in our own stress and concerns for her wellbeing has enabled us to support my mother more effectively, and importantly, for longer than we would have otherwise been able or equipped to do.

Now we are helping others.

We are deeply committed to our clients who include people living with dementia including young onset dementia, acquired brain injury and other disabilities that affect the ability to manage daily tasks, and as Carers ourselves, we have a deep commitment to supporting their families and carers.

I had the great privilege of working for the truly extraordinary organisation, Musica Viva Australia, but nothing has compared with the ability to provide what is in reality, a life-changing solution.
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