Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association is hosting a new initiative that they want to be a welcoming, informative and interactive space for older Black men, 60 years of age and older, called “Check-in Wednesday.”
The first gathering will take place Wednesday, July 12, 1-4 p.m. inside the Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association’s Men’s Health & Education Center at 588 Grand Canyon Drive on Madison’s west side (located next to the Perry Family Free Clinic and JP Hair Design.) Aaron Perry, the founder of Rebalanced Life Wellness Association, and Fred Conley, an active participant with Black Men Run, Black Men Hike and Black Men Cycle Madison, will be holding space for Black men, ages 60 years and up, to learn more about accessible and affordable health care while building community relations and networks.
The free event will also address issues of social and emotional isolation, loneliness, and the lack of culturally responsive programs specifically created for older Black men and will offer “grown-folks music” and games like dominoes, bid whist, spades and more.
It will be held once a month at the Men’s Health & Education Center, which was designed to eliminate health disparities and bring preventative health care to men of color from a location that they trust and respect, JP Hair Design, Madison’s largest Black barbershop.
Perry has been a health care advocate for nearly two decades. He notices the disparities in access to health care and exercise for Black men, especially low-to-no-income Black men and elders with chronic physical and mental health issues, he says. “As a community, we have the resources to help these men,” Perry tells Madison 365.
Conley, age 71, characterizes “Check-In Wednesdays” as a “family reunion” for community members who haven’t had space to meet for a long time. Conley, who regularly leads men on Black Men Run, Black Men Hike and Black Men Cycle Madison exercise outings, expressed his passion and advocacy for creating space for elderly Black men to learn more and develop their athletic skills. Conley leads by example, and he tells Madison 365 about the weekly, if not daily, 3-5 mile runs and 2-3 walks that he and the other organization members do, along with the biking trips.
NewBridge Madison is a proud partner for the Wednesday Check-ins, which is specifically targeting uninsured and underinsured Black men. At the event, the men are encouraged to stay as short or long as the like. Light refreshments will be served and transportation is available, by request.
Perry says that he finds that Black men 60 and older have a significant disparity in chronic health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, and benefit from the network of Black men that this organization brings. Perry also mentioned the mental toll and “social isolation” that chronic health issues can have on individuals.