Charlie Handly, a resident at The Buckingham, a premier senior living community, is holding his own against Alzheimer’s Disease, and boxing could be playing a part in this. In 2015, his neurologist diagnosed his short-term memory loss as ‘’dementia which will lead to Alzheimer’s.” He was also told, “There is no cure, but we know that mental stimulation helps all brains.” Despite frequent visits with family and friends, Handly had many days with no real stimulating activities. A move to The Buckingham changed his life for the better. Now, a typical day might include a game of pool or putt-putt golf in the weekly tournaments, art classes and outings. His fitness classes with The Buckingham’s specialist, Jena Hoofnagle. The fitness classes are his favorite as they work on cardio, core, balance, weights and boxing. It’s the sport of boxing that has helped him stay active and work towards strengthening his body and mind, despite the challenges.
Neuro boxing is a therapy that helps improve overall coordination and cognitive motor skills. Hoofnagle focuses on target-hitting drills for neuropathy support, calling out strike patterns, and Handly executes the sequences with various punches and deliberate footwork. Boxing has not only helped Handly stay physically fit, but also provides an emotional outlet, releasing stress and having fun during his workouts.
“Boxing involves your entire body, and it helps me feel more in tune with myself,” says Handly. “I’ve learned quickly that a real punch comes all the way up your ankle through your back and shoulders and then is powered by your arm.”
Handly was with ExxonMobil nearly 40 years and has been a Scoutmaster with BSA Troop599 for more than 50 years, being awarded the Silver Beaver, the council-level distinguished service award, and the President’s Award of Merit. For 27 years, he took his troops skiing for spring break, teaching the sport. He also led canoeing trips for them to the Canadian Boundary Waters for many summers. Handly and his wife Kay have been married 59 years and have two sons, two grandsons and a great grandson. He is happier and healthier, holding his own and learning new things. The Buckingham is committed to providing innovative and effective therapies like neuro boxing to support the health and well-being of its residents. With an estimated 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s, Handly’s story may encourage others to recognize the benefits of keeping all brains stimulated and celebrates the resilience of individuals who refuse to be defined by the disease.