"I will never forget the day that my mother, sister and I arrived at our Great Nanna's houseto visit when I was 10. She did not recognise any of us, yet let us into her home and offered us tea, which she made with cold water and milk. She offered dog biscuits to my sister and I to eat with our cold tea, which she had retrieved from a bag that she kept in her oven. At our young age we thought this was all very strange, and admittedly, a little bit funny. Yet it wasn’t funny to our mother, as she left the house concerned for the safety and wellbeing of her Nan, and with tears in her eyes. Shortly after our visit, my Nan was placed in an aged care facility and diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease which subsequently took her life not long after.
I have always had an interest in the brain and behaviour, which led me to study Psychology and Neuroscience in my undergraduate degree. I now work as a Research Assistant on the Older Australian Twins Study (OATS) at CHeBA and I see how important lifestyle factors are to helping our brains age healthily.
Being part of the team of CHeBA Fitness Ambassadors is a positive step towards not only motivating myself to keep fit and healthy, but also to raise much needed funds for research, motivate others and help us to change the future of brain ageing as a community!"
What does "Healthy Brains. Positive Ageing" mean to me?
"As part of our research at OATS, we look at genetic and environmental factors that contribute to healthy brain ageing and cognitive decline. I have seen first-hand the devastating effects that neurodegenerative disease can have on individuals and their families. However, I have also learnt through our research that a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, can help maintain healthy brain ageing. This is definitely a step in the direction of positive ageing. If we can maintain our physical health, this has a wonderful effect on our mental health too."
Tanya has worked with CHeBA on the Older Australian Twins Study since 2010. She plans to pursue a PhD or professional doctorate in Clinical Neuropsychology and is a keen photographer. CHeBA is thrilled to have Tanya as part of the CHeBA Champions team!
The CHeBA Champions are Fitness Ambassadors for the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing. These fitness professionals and enthusiasts in their 20s and 30s are championing healthy brain ageing through healthy lifestyles from a young age.