Former Olympian Jackie Joyner Kersee Helping Black People Take Better Care of Themselves


Three time Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee, helped launch a healthcare project called “Because We Care,” that is aimed at providing African American families with resources that will enable them to take better care of their families, and most importantly, themselves.

The project was put together by The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. along with AARP. Both organizations recognize that over 65.7 million people in the United States are providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged—and more than half of these caregivers are African American.  They also recognize that these caregivers are in a unique position, caring for both an older person and younger person under the age of 18 at the same time.  These caregivers neglect their own health, suffering from stress and severe financial hardships.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee said at the press conference for the event, “Care-giving is something we do out of love, responsibility, obligation, and honor, but sometimes, the ties that bind fray a little around the edges.”  She stated further, “Through the ‘Because We Care Forums’, The Black Women’s Agenda and AARP are helping families plan for the unexpected.”

Kersee also stated that the program will give counseling to these caregivers, allowing them to talk about any troubles they may have.  The counselors will also educate the caregivers on any new health care laws.  And most importantly, they are there to let the caregivers know that they aren’t alone.

Gwainevere Hess, President of The Black Women’s Agenda Inc. said, “African Americans are twice as likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer’s disease as Whites. The incidence of stroke is twice as high for us and, among ethnic groups, we have the highest rate of disability.  Simply put, we know that we are going to have to provide care for members of our families and communities.”

Hess wants the Black community to be prepared by knowing where they can go and what they can do to protect their own mental and physical health.

The Black Women’s Agenda stated on their website that the care forums will take place in 14 cities across the United States.

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