Page 65 - South Mississippi Living - June, 2022
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  Mary Mach works with Punch Out Parkinson’s instructor, Louis Callahan, during a class at Seashore Highlands. BELOW: Senior boxers Joe and Andy “square off” – but only to mimic each other’s punching action – under Coach Callahan’s watchful eye.
that time.
“We had no idea COVID-19 would hit
our nation in 2020, so it was a blessing in disguise that we did not get our original grant for boxing, because we would not have been able to exercise together as we do now,” said Daniel. “In the Fall
of 2021, discussions began again, and
it was the decision of MSS to invest in this program to create innovative ways to engage elders living with cardiovascular issues, Parkinson’s disease, and other types of dementia.”
Callahan’s love for boxing and innate ability to fuel enthusiasm inspired him to create a business built around boxing and health. That endeavor brought him to the attention of Seashore Highlands, and in February of 2022, Persechino signed him as Seashore’s newest recruit. Now Coach Callahan is back and engaged in his two favorite activities, boxing and motivation. Today, he’s training elders how to punch
hard for a better life. They know he’s in their corner – body, mind and soul.
“If they can move, we can work with them,” says Callahan. “We mainly train them within a circle so they can see each other and that brings out their natural desire to do their best. My goal is to get them into a rhythm so we can begin to retrain their coordination and reaction skills. We keep their hands extending while air punching, and then we start moving forward. With me leading the class in a circle, we mimic each other, so it’s like we are all in one accord.”
The Beach House at Seashore Highlands offers a comprehensive approach to serving those with Parkinson’s and other forms of dementia with their registered dietician and a supportive, secure environment. Other key programming includes Dance for PD classes and the It’s Never Too Late® tablet program.
  THE SCIENCE BEHIND “Punch Out Parkinson’s”
Ironically, an independent, peer-re- viewed study showed that boxing drills (excluding actual contact) engage the human body in an ideal approach to building integration between left and right brain hemispheres. The key is
how punching from left-to-right forces cooperation between both sides of the brain, resulting in improved senior balance and gait. Boxing drills have also been shown to lower blood pressure and body weight, results which are welcome to most older adults. All elders can also benefit from the strengthening of muscle flexibility and cognition.
The psychological benefits are just
as real. Participants get a natural rise in dopamine, the very brain chemical used to treat Parkinson’s, and often associat- ed with confidence and wellbeing. The ultimate success of the program hinges on a coach who excels at both boxing and psychology. Callahan says the key is unlocking the internal motivation of each senior and guiding them into a personal- ized approach that matches their health status. He delivers on all counts.
“Then and Always:”
A Message of Continuity for MSS and Our Residents
As Methodist Senior Services celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, MSS leadership salutes the core values that have defined MSS service and staff from the beginning, throughout the last 60 years, and into the future. “Then and Always” also sums up the MSS commitment to empowering every resident to pursue
the lifelong values, loves and passionate pursuits that define their lives – both then and always. This philosophy is rooted in elder research that shows seniors who pursue lifelong passions such as cooking, artwork, active sports, and much more, generally live longer, healthier and happier lives. The socialization of these activities
factors in as well.
    Methodist Senior Services: A Company on a Mission
Methodist Senior Services has a 60-year-old tradition of providing housing and services to older adults in Mississippi. It has one mission: to serve older adults in the spirit of Christian love. Its approximately 1,000 employees and 1,600 volunteers make that mission the organization’s prime focus. Today, MSS serves more than 1,700 elders
in our 12 statewide campuses offering affordable apartments, personal care/ assisted living, the Green House® Homes and skilled nursing care. For more information concerning MSS or any of its communities, visit the website at
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