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A Special Section Highlighting Senior Lifestyles This month’s focus: Traveling

November 22, 2012

Bloomington woman travels 7 continents... alone. Not much intimidates this active mother of 8 BY EMILY HEDGES – CONTRIBUTING WRITER There is little that intimidates Bloomington resident Mary Greeman. Raising eight children as a young widow taught her how much she could accomplish with hard work. Traveling to all seven continents alone taught her how far she could get with determination and a smile. Greeman’s first trip overseas was in 1955. All alone, pregnant, and with a three-month-old son, Greeman crossed the ocean in a propeller plane to meet her husband, Joe, who was sent to Japan as an Army medical service officer. “We didn’t even know if we’d have medical care when we got there,” Greeman recalled. “It was very scary being there just after the war.” After their stint in Japan, the Greemans returned to Bloomington, opened a pharmacy, and grew their family. In 1973, with eight children and a foster daughter spanning from preschool to high school, Greeman suddenly found herself alone when Joe was killed in a tractor accident. Forced to close the business, Greeman found a way to raise all eight children on her own. “You can do it being a single parent. You just have to work hard,” she said.

Mary Greeman poses next to penguins during her visit to Antarctica in 1994. Although life was difficult without Joe, Greeman was determined to give her children the chance to travel. In 1976, after selling their farm, she used the money to take the entire

family on a two-week bicentennial trip in an RV, including stops in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and Niagara Falls. Once her children were ready to

go off on their own, she decided it was time for her to do the same. “I made the commitment that I GREENMAN: TO PAGE 4


2 Mature Lifestyles – Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012

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Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012– Mature Lifestyles 3

The Big Apple is terrific destination for seniors tour BY EMILY HEDGES CONTRIBUTING WRITER Curtis Hedstrom, 68, had always wanted to travel to the Big Apple. When he saw a notice in the Lakeville Senior Center about an upcoming trip, he thought the time was right to finally go. “I had wanted to go to New York City, but I didn’t know where to stay, or what parts were safe. I thought if I go with a group, I won’t have those issues,” he said. Creating turnkey travel experiences for seniors like Hedstrom is a priority for Senior Center Coordinator Linda Walter. “They have no worries about booking sightseeing tours, where to eat, etc. It’s all taken care of up front. They have the chance to meet new people and enjoy the company of others rather than just going on a trip by themselves,” said Walter. The 40 seniors who toured New York City together were from all over the country, including seven from Minnesota. Also traveling from the Lakeville Seniors was Kathy Hames, 67, who like Hedstrom had never been to Manhattan before. “I had wanted to go to New York for a long time,” she said. “My friend, Bev Sellentine, and I went together and just had a blast.” Both Hames and Hedstrom said the vibrancy and energy of the city was their favorite part of the experience. “I loved going to Times Square. There were people everywhere. I liked the action,” said Hames. “When we went to Ellis Island, and I found my father’s family name on the wall.” She also loved seeing the 911 Memorial. “It was touching. All the names of the victims were there,” she said. “We went into the museum and

Lakeville Seniors travelled to New York City Sept. 611, 2012. Kathy Hames poses with “King Kong” found at the top of the Empire State Building during her trip to New York City with the Lakeville Seniors.

watched a film about the experience. It was hard to watch.” During the group’s backstage tour of the theater where they saw Mary Poppins, she was able to live out a life-long fantasy. “I broke into a little soft shoe on

stage and sang New York, New York,” she recalled. “Now I can tell people I sang and danced on Broadway.” Hedstrom particularly enjoyed walking the city streets and seeing so many sites he’d always heard

about, including Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Ed Sullivan Theater and Carnegie Hall. He found a few things he saw were not what he expected. “Taxis were cheaper than I thought they would be. The restaurants weren’t as big, and the number of them was amazing,” he said. Hames said that she can now mark New York City off of her bucket list, and that traveling with the Lakeville Seniors is as easy as it gets. “A shuttle bus comes to your home to pick you up. It’s all included in the price of the trip,” she said. “I feel it is important to offer trips like this to the community,” said Walter. “If we didn’t, some people would not get the chance to go. Our trips are so convenient for people. All they have to do is pay the money and everything else is taken care of.” Upcoming trips planned with the Lakeville Seniors in 2013 are: Hawaii, Jan 31 to Feb. 9; a riverboat tour of the upper Mississippi River, July 4-13; Canada and New England cruise, Aug. 31 to Sept. 8; and a Bahamas cruise, Nov. 10-17. The mission of the Lakeville Senior Center is to focus on the wellbeing of individuals aged 50 and older in order to enhance the emotional, physical and psychological aspects of their lives. The Center strives to provide programs of interest for seniors of all ages and to be a fun, friendly place for seniors to come to meet friends and enjoy the day. The Lakeville Senior Center is located in downtown Lakeville, just behind the Post Office at 2011 Holyoke Ave. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday Friday. For more information, call (952) 985-4622 or go to www.lakevillemn.gov.


4 Mature Lifestyles – Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012

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Greenman FROM PAGE 1 wanted to go to all seven continents,� she said. It helped that her daughter Liese worked for Northwest Airlines and was able to get her free tickets and exclusive discounts. She also took advantage of opportunities to travel with her son, Tony, a linguist and international businessman.

First, China In 1987 she met Tony in China, where he had attended college. She recalls a memorable dinner in Jilin at the home of one of Tony’s former teachers. The man, who had been a general in the Chinese army and fought against the Americans in Korea, was nervous that Greeman might bear him ill will. To show respect, he prepared black dog, a delicacy. “I became a vegetarian that night,� said Greeman. “I claimed I was a vegetarian from then on to avoid eating dubious meats.� She and Tony went to Inner Mongolia where Greeman recalls the bluest sky she’s ever seen, and a

starry night around a campfire cold as Minnesota while she was singing Beatles songs, the only ones there. Her best memories were of known by everyone, no matter their seeing penguins, and an entire day spent in a zodiac language or nationplaying with whales. ality. “They would On that trip, come up and under, Greeman rememswim away and bers seeing the Terra zoom back,� she Cotta soldiers, riding recalled. “It was so a camel for the first exciting, and I suptime, and taking a pose a little scary.� boat trip on the After her return Yangtze River. home, Greeman was In 1988 she went shocked to learn the on a solo tour of ship she had been on South America, viswas actually a iting Argentina, Russian spy ship Brazil, and that was intercepted Paraguay. She by Interpol on the returned to South voyage following America in 1994 on hers. her way to and from Antarctica on board a scientific expedition of about 60 passengers. In 1999, Greeman “It wasn’t a luxu-MARY GREENMAN checked Africa off of ry cruise, but a small her list when she ship of mostly scienembarked on a tists. There were lectures every day. month-long Grand Circle Tour. Once we arrived, we’d take inflatable zodiacs to shore five or six Traveling alone, she visited South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, times a day,� she said. Ironically, Antarctica wasn’t as Batswana, and Egypt.

‘Expect the best. Don’t worry about fears. They are unfounded in most cases. Go with a good attitude, learn what you can, and remember a African circle smile goes a tour long way.’

The last continent she visited was Australia. In 2005 she met Tony in Sydney for a three-week tour of the country. Although at this time she could only do small amounts of walking without the help of a wheelchair, Greeman insisted on visiting the Outback. Greeman has traveled to dozens of countries in Europe over the years. One of her favorite memories is the time she toured Scotland in the company of the International Clown Convention. “Every time we’d go into a pub they’d make balloon animals,� she recalled. While she may have completed her goal to visit all seven continents, Greeman’s traveling days are far from over. This past summer she toured historic Route 66 by car with her daughter MariJo and grandson Mac. For Christmas, she plans to visit her son Bobby who is living his retirement in Panama. Her advice to other seniors thinking of traveling on their own: “Expect the best. Don’t worry about fears. They are unfounded in most cases. Go with a good attitude, learn what you can, and remember a smile goes a long way,� she said.

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6 Mature Lifestyles – Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012

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Family Conversations with Bob Solheim, Little Hospice Director Family: We were sent by our social worker to tour your hospice and noticed as soon as we walked in the front door a sense of peace and calm in the house. Bob: Compassion is what you are feeling. Our nursing staff and volunteers are especially drawn to hospice due to their compassionate nature. No amount of training can provide compassion, it comes from within. We care lovingly for patients of all ages who are in need of end of life services…special care… delivered with dignity, integrity and respect, by highly skilled nurses. Family: My mother tells me that it is a long wait when she tries to call for help at the nursing home. What can I expect at Little Hospice? Bob: Call lights are our priority at Little Hospice, 20 seconds is the average wait. We want our patients to know that their comfort is foremost in our minds. Even a bumped call light is not a concern…it is a way for us to let a patient know that we are here to serve them. Of course they are comforted when they see us come into their room immediately…we want them to know that we care.

Mary Odell has served as tour escort in Golden Valley for more than 20 years. Photo provided by Golden Valley Seniors Program.

Family: I am concerned about taking care of my wife at home, it is getting very difficult. Bob: When you bring your wife here, you can let the nurses be the caregivers who will attend to her physical needs…now you can visit with her and just be her husband... spending those final precious days at her side. Our Little Hospice is staffed with nurses, nursing aids, volunteers, full-time cook, grief support and other helpful personnel. At any hour you will find at least two nurses at the hospice and actively caring for your loved one. You are always welcome to be here or call and speak to a nurse at any time. We care. Family: How soon can I get a bed for my husband at Little Hospice? Bob: We can have your husband here quickly. Normally a bed is available within one or two days. Bob: A good ending to a great life is an experience we all desire. You will find Little Hospice is the place that removes the burden of care from you and puts the focus on your loved one living each day to the fullest, free from pain and discomfort.

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Mary Wanderers travel extensively BY EMILY HEDGES CONTRIBUTING WRITER Mary Odell may have the best job in the world. In fact, she says if she ever retires, the City of Golden Valley should auction it off. “I enjoy my job. I’ve met some truly wonderful people,” she said. Odell serves as the escort for Golden Valley’s popular travel program. If you ask Jeanne Fackler, senior citizens coordinator with the City of Golden Valley, she’ll tell you that Mary is one important reason for the program’s success. In fact, she is such an integral part, the program has taken on the name Mary Wanderers. For more than 20 years, the Crystal resident has

led excursions all over the country. “Mary is the perfect escort. She has a positive attitude, pays attention to details, can ‘go with the flow’ if there is a glitch, and has a great laugh,” said Fackler. “Our participants, some of whom have traveled with her for 20 years, have shared her joys and sorrows. Plus, when a trip ends with chocolate, it has to be good, right?” Mary and Jeanne plan trips with the help of Alice Norman from Medicine Lake Tours. Mary says that ideas come from her and Jeanne, along with suggestions from their seniors. She finds the most popular experiences include TRAVELS: TO NEXT PAGE


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Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012– Mature Lifestyles 7

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The “Mary Wanderers” are pictured during a bus trip to Chicago earlier this year. Photo provided by Golden Valley Seniors Program.

FROM PREVIOUS PAGE boat and train rides, home tours, and anything involving music. Some of her recent favorites have been a train trip to Chicago; Mackinac Island; a boat ride up the Mississippi River; Bayfield, Wisconsin; Washington D.C.; and Nashville. “Every trip I take is one of my favorites,” she said. “This has been a very good year. I especially love holiday trips. They really get people in the mood,” she said. Barb Bailey, longtime recreation director for Golden Valley, began the travel program more than two decades ago that has grown in popularity each year. “Our trips are very popular with Golden Valley seniors, but we get a lot of people from the other suburbs,” said Odell. “We have a wonderful following. It keeps growing and we have new people all the time.” Mary believes meticulous planning is one of the reasons seniors keep coming back to the program. And she agrees with Jeanne that chocolate doesn’t hurt. “I always have special treats, and I like to stay positive. Things are well planned, and people like that. It’s the people that really make it for

me,” she said. Odell wasn’t always a traveler. In fact, she didn’t fly in an airplane until she was 40 years old. She and her husband took their three children on small vacations. Now, when she isn’t on the go, she is probably spending time with her three grandchildren, who she says makes her heart smile. She especially loves to take them to Gopher football games. She is a season-ticket holder, although she will admit, she goes mainly to hear the band. Mary may also be found leading a crafting group at the Senior Center. Volunteers hand-make a variety of paper crafts for local groups, such as the Good Samaritan Home, Golden Valley Rehab, and the Dinner at your Door program. “I just like doing things. I have a very good time, and I just love this job,” said Mary. Golden Valley Senior Center will host a travel show at the Senior Center located at 200 Brookview Parkway in Golden Valley on Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. Seniors are invited to come hear about upcoming travel opportunities over coffee, pie and ice cream. There is a small fee to attend. The group also hosts a travel show at the Hopkins Senior Center the end of March. For more information, call (763) 512-2339 or go to www.goldenvalleymn.gov.

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Seniors John and Karen Eggert will tell you that traveling with the Spring Lake Park Recreation Department is one of the best deals around. Given the value, they were surprised to learn that part of the proceeds go to benefit youth and adult recreation programs in the community, a fact that makes them feel even better about getting out of town. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The trips are so economical for what you get to do. If they are also raising money for kids programs, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wonderful. Both of us have tried to support our local community, and there are so many in need these days,â&#x20AC;? said Karen. When the City of Spring Lake Park faced budget shortages, city staff realized that recreation programs would probably be the first thing to go. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been doing one-day trips, but some of the seniors began to request more extended trips. At the same time, our staff was trying to come up with some new ways to bring in dollars,â&#x20AC;? said Marian Rygwall, director of parks and recreation for the City of Spring Lake Park. Rygwall and her staff realized they had knowledgeable people who could plan and lead some extended trips for competitive costs and raise enough to help keep taxes down. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our playground program, skating rink for the kids in winter, these are the sort of programs being covered by

fees from our travel program,â&#x20AC;? said Rygwall. The department offers three to four extended trips a year to appeal to different tastes. Travel insurance is always included, so seniors put down a deposit knowing they can always receive a full refund if necessary. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our goal is education, socialization and enhancement of life experiences, all at the pace each individual wants,â&#x20AC;? said Rygwall. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some of the trips are for active seniors and some are more relaxed. They always stay in nice properties that cater to their needs. We program for the comfort of our seniors.â&#x20AC;? The trips are multi-generational, with many seniors bringing along their children and grandchildren. However, for singles a group like this can offer the perfect option when traveling alone. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Seniors feel comfortable traveling with a local group. When they lose a spouse, or they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wish to go alone, they feel comfortable going with us. Neighbors come together and develop travel groups. It eases them into the travel experience,â&#x20AC;? said Rygwall. The Eggerts have gone on three extended trips with the Spring Lake Park senior group. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We saw this program when we retired,â&#x20AC;? said Karen. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had always wanted to go to Graceland, so we signed up for the Memphis trip. We loved it so much we went to New RECREATION: TO NEXT PAGE


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Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012– Mature Lifestyles 9

2013

Recreation

Seniors from Spring Lake Park travelled to the Pacific Northwest for 16 days. Here, John and Karen Eggert pose by a sign near Mount St. Helens in Oregon.

FROM PREVIOUS PAGE Orleans.” Their most recent trip was a16day excursion through the Pacific Northwest. The group made up of seniors ranging in age from 60s to 90s traveled through North Dakota, Montana, Washington, Oregon, and California, touring a number of major cities and National Parks. John’s favorite stops were Mount St. Helens and Yosemite National Park. For Karen, images of the Columbia River Gorge and the amazing waterfalls are the ones she’ll never forget. “It was mind boggling. I just loved the water,” she recalled. The Eggerts credit tour planner and escort Sharie Linke with the success and quality of the excursions. “Sharie does an excellent job of pre-planning the trip,” said Karen. “John and I are both retired math teachers. We’re concrete, sequential people who like to have the daily itineraries.” For John, the best part about traveling with Sharie is the time savings and variety of experi-

ences. “It’s a really good bargain. For the cost, we were amazed at all we got to do,” he said. “You may do it yourself for less money, but you’d have to do so much work and research, and we’d never have known to do half the things we did.” For Linke, it’s people like the Eggerts who make her job so enjoyable. “I find it absolutely fascinating interacting with people that have so much experience and knowledge. On a tour, I always try to use their knowledge and have them

share their personal experiences,” said Linke. “We always have such kind and caring people on our tours and why wouldn’t they be – they’re from Spring Lake Park and the surrounding communities.” Spring Lake Park Recreation Department has the following trips planned for 2013: Deluxe California Fly-Away, Jan. 20 to Feb. 3; NYC and Washington D.C. March 17-28; Canadian Atlantic Maritimes, Sept 7-22; and Branson Holiday Tour Nov. 20-25. For more information on travel opportunities, call 763-792-7231 or go to www.slprec.org.

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Chanhassen seniors are able to experience the history of the Holy Land, man a remote Icelandic weather station, sail the fjords of Norway, and take many more memorable journeys without ever leaving their own neighborhood, thanks to travel programming offered by the Chanhassen Senior Center. “Our Passport to the World program is kind of like armchair traveler series,” said Sue Bill, Senior Center coordinator for the City of Chanhassen. The popular lunchtime series features a different country and culture four times a year. A person who has traveled to or lived in the featured country leads each talk. Attendees receive passports and a sticker identifying each presentation they attend. Food and drink native to that land complete the experience. “Four or five years ago, when fuel costs began to rise, I found people were traveling less and less because of the expense,” she said. “Why not offer the chance to sit down in comfort and experience sights and sounds of various countries?” According to Bill, the community has embraced the series. Each presentation fills up quickly, drawing between 40 and 50 seniors. “People love hearing the experiences of other travelers. The programs are such a success,” said Bill. “Topics will change as presenters become available.” Chanhassen resident Fran Sheffel serves on the Senior Advisory Board. When her husband was alive, the couple loved to travel, visiting every U.S. state except Hawaii, and all of the Canadian Provinces. “It gives you the opportunity to see first hand a lot of countries that you may have an

interest in. You’re hearing from people who have been there,” said Sheffel. “It’s wonderful for a lot of people who can’t travel anymore.” Fellow Advisory Board member Marlyn Mauritz also tries to attend as many travel series presentations as possible. “It’s wonderful seeing people experience places they can no longer travel to,” said Mauritz. “We usually have a waiting list. Those programs go so quickly.” Mauritz credits Bill, the city staff and community of Chanhassen for the success of this and many other programs at the center. “We have quality help from the community. Sue does an excellent job. The community and the city are so supportive,” said Mauritz. The Senior Center added another opportunity for armchair travel through Lifelong Learning presentations offered through Augsburg College, College of the Third Age. Retired professors from the Twin Cities come and give presentations approximately oneand-a-half hours in length on topics selected by Bill from a list of more than 75 options. The next presentation in this series is called Jerusalem: The City of God. Taking place on Dec. 4 at 10 a.m., attendees will learn about the city that is viewed by Jews, Christians and Muslims to be the City of God. The lecture will give an overview of the ancient and modern day history of Jerusalem, including pictures and stories from recent travels to Jerusalem. Reservation deadline is Nov. 27. The program fee is $3. The Chanhassen Senior Center is located in the lower level of City Hall at 7700 Market Boulevard. Residents from surrounding communities are welcome. For more information, call 952-227-1124 or go to www.ci.chanhassen.mn.us.


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Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012– Mature Lifestyles 11

PAID ADVERTISEMENT

HEARING LOSS OFTEN OVERLOOKED, EASY TO DETECT Chicago, IL – Hearing loss affects 31 million Americans. Still, only 20% of those who need a hearing aid own one. Hearing loss is a condition that, in most cases, develops gradually– many people do not realize they are affected. Fortunately, modern hearing care has become more aware of the symptoms of hearing loss. This increased awareness has helped millions hear better and enjoy more life Undetected But Significant Hearing is one of the basic ways we communicate and interact with each other and the environment: Undetected hearing loss can have serious consequences. Children with undetected hearing problems are sometimes misidentified as being mentally challenged or as having learning disabilities. Because speech is normally acquired through repeating what is heard, such children are at an early disadvantage. Their education and development may be stunted by the lack of proper treatment. According to a survey by the National Council on the Aging (NCOA), older people with undetected hearing loss are more likely to report depression, anxiety, paranoia, emotional problems, and reduced social activity. The survey concluded that seniors who treat their hearing loss have better relationships with their families, improved mental health, greater independence, and stronger feelings of security. Seniors who lose their hearing may experience these common scenarios before discovering their loss. Warning Signs Although hearing loss is a very personal condition, the symptoms of hearing loss are fairly consistent. Hearing Care Practitioners generally ask a series of questions to identify whether a person has experienced hearing loss. Beltone™, a leading manufacturer of hearing aids, lists the following “10 Warning Signs of Hearing Loss” in their The Gift of Hearing brochure: 1. People seem to mumble more frequently 2. You hear, but have trouble understanding all the words in conversation 3. You often ask people to repeat themselves 4. You fi nd telephone conversation increasingly difficult 5. Your family or friends complain that you play the TV or radio too loudly 6. You no longer hear normal household sounds, such as the dripping of a faucet or the ringing of a doorbell 7. You have trouble hearing when your back is turned to the speaker. 8. You have been told that you speak too loudly 9. You experience ringing in your ears. 10.You have difficulty understanding conversation when in a large group or crowd If a person experiences these warning signs repeatedly or in combination, it may indicate a hearing loss. The Only Way to Know For Sure Hearing loss itself can be misunderstood. Wax buildup in the ear canal is a common occurrence that adversely affects hearing. Often people assume they have a permanent loss when, in fact, they don’t. A hearing screening and video otoscope inspection (a simple procedure in which a picture of a person’s ear canal is taken) provide an accurate evaluation of what you’re hearing and what you’re not. According to one Beltone Hearing Care Practitioner, “When I give someone an otoscope inspection, I often fi nd that simple wax buildup is contributing to their hearing problem.” Testing Is Available to Anyone Beltone offers hearing screenings at all of their 1600 Hearing Care Centers throughout the nation. If you’re interested in a hearing screening, or if you would like to request a free copy of The Gift of Hearing, call Beltone toll-free at 1-800647-1370, or visit them online at www.beltone.com.

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12 Mature Lifestyles – Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012

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YES,

At UCare, we know Boomers. Which is why we’ve designed our health plans to keep pace with our changing times. UCare for SeniorsSM lets you choose from plans that cover prescription drugs, travel, eyewear, dental, fitness programs like SilverSneakers® and more. There are no co-pays for primary care visits with most plans. And you’ll get to talk to a real person 24/7 when you call customer service. It’s just what you’d expect from health care that starts with you. UCare Minnesota and UCare Wisconsin, Inc. are health plans with Medicare contracts. ©2012, UCare H2459 H4270_ 090512 CMS Accepted (09102012)

YOU STILL DO MATTER.

WE’VE

BEEN EXPECTING YOU.

Learn more about the benefits of UCare for Seniors in our new eGuide to Medicare at ucareplans.org/eguide. Or call (toll free) 1-877-523-1518 (TTY) 1-800-688-2534, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

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