Womanly X Henry Street Settlement
Words - Aarti Patel, Womanly Health Educator
Photography - Gene Liaw
The Womanly Team is constantly working to learn the needs of the community and to collect feedback that will better inform our content for the future and ensure that it is accessible and relevant to the needs of the womxn and gender non-conforming people we hope to reach. With issue 3, Womanly aimed to create an issue that spoke to the needs and aspirations of the older generation while bridging the gap between the younger generations and making space for all of us to share our stories and experiences.
Recently, with a stack of Issue 3: Words from the Wise in hand, I set out to the Henry Street Settlement in the Lower East Side to distribute Womanly Magazine and speak with a group of older adults about the issue.
The group I met with were members of the Henry Street Settlement Senior Companion Group, which is comprised of older adults in the NYC area who volunteer to assist homebound seniors living with chronic illnesses. The volunteers offer logistical support with shopping and attending doctors appointments, but most importantly, they provide companionship and emotional support.
This particular afternoon, about 40 seniors graciously volunteered their time to provide feedback on Womanly Magazine’s 3rd issue: Words from the Wise, through a roundtable discussion and a written survey. After introducing Womanly Magazine and the work that I do as the health and wellness educator, we dived into the magazine and I listened intently while they discussed the health and art pieces from the issue that most resonated with them.
While reading the piece on Alzheimer's disease, one senior commented that she didn't know the disease was more common in women than in men. Another senior expressed delight when she read the "Seeing Through My Eyes" and “Seeing Past Fear” pieces. She had recently undergone her own cataract surgery, and she mentioned that cataracts are not a topic typically found in mainstream health magazines. I was struck by the enthusiasm the senior womxn had for discussing their health issues, and the desire they had to advocate for their own health. I was moved to hear from a generation who has carried years of wisdom and have nurtured younger generations into the people we are today.
It was inspiring and humbling to see how many people took to this issue so positively, especially when I considered all the long hours the team put into making this issue as an homage to the generation that came before us…
To learn more about the senior companion program: click here
Thank you to Rachel Hughes for your willingness to make this possible