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06.01.23 | Arts & Culture

Travel Trips and Destinations for Summer Adventurers

Get ready to embrace the magic of summer! It’s the perfect season to awaken your inner explorer, savor the thrill of freedom, and make every moment count. Remember, travel isn’t just about moving from point A to point B; it’s about learning continuously and sprinkling your life with unforgettable memories. But, as we all know, every adventure carries its share of surprises. Don’t fret, though – we’ve got you covered. Dive into our expertly-curated travel tips and discover three destinations that will inevitably satisfy your spirit of adventure this summer:

Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

First on our list is a day trip to Starved Rock State Park, about two hours west of Chicago. The park boasts some of the finest natural attractions in the Midwest, with an impressive 18 canyons, scenic waterfalls, and a wide variety of wildlife. Take a guided tour or embark on a self-guided adventure, it’s the perfect place to commune with nature and appreciate the beauty of the Illinois Valley.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

If a serene lakeside excursion suits your fancy, consider visiting Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. Only a short hour and a half drive from Chicago, it’s a haven of relaxation and natural beauty. Here, you’ll find opportunities to indulge in boating, fishing, or simply a picnic by the waterside. For a real treat, take a historical tour on the lake’s mail boat, a century-old tradition that offers a unique perspective of the stunning lakeside homes.

Michigan City, Indiana

Finally, a day trip to Michigan City in Indiana offers a blend of city attractions and natural beauty, only an hour away from Chicago. Enjoy the vibrant arts scene at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, explore the beautiful Washington Park Zoo nestled on a sand dune overlooking Lake Michigan, or stroll the colorful boutiques and antique shops of the Uptown Arts District. 

When embarking on these adventures, remember to consider your comfort and health. Carry water, snacks, and any required medication. Dress for the weather, and wear comfortable footwear suitable for the activity you’re planning. Whether you’re journeying solo or with loved ones, each trip offers a unique opportunity for exploration, learning, and a touch of adventure. 

So, here’s our Sage Advice: take the summer its hands and step out into the world. There’s a lot to see, much to learn, and countless experiences waiting just for you. Exploration is not just about discovering new places, but also about discovering ourselves. After all, age is just a number, and the world is our timeless playground. Embrace your independence, pursue vibrant living, and make the most of the educational experiences that these journeys offer.

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05.18.23 | Arts & Culture

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning: Ways You Can Stay Curious and Keep Learning at Any Age

In today’s world, learning is not just confined to the classroom. Nor is it a phase that fades after our school years. Learning is an exhilarating journey of discovery that can and should continue throughout our entire lives. At Sage Collective, we believe in the power of lifelong learning to nourish the mind, invigorate the spirit, and ultimately, facilitate a vibrant and high-quality living experience. 

Embrace the Ever-Curious Mind 

Being curious is about wanting to know more. It’s about asking questions and finding answers, about anything that interests you. This could be about the latest gadget or an old piece of history. Following your curiosity can lead to exciting discoveries and new knowledge. Remember, no matter how old you are, there’s always something new to learn.

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Throughout our programming, we’ve observed firsthand the transformative power of lifelong learning. It fosters a sense of purpose, promotes mental agility, and bolsters self-confidence. Lifelong learning can also help combat loneliness by providing opportunities to meet like-minded peers, thus forming enriching relationships. Moreover, being actively engaged in learning contributes to your overall wellbeing. Research suggests that stimulating your mind can help slow cognitive decline and improve memory function. It keeps the brain agile and the spirit youthful. 

Ways to Keep Learning 

So, how do you maintain a lifelong commitment to learning? The key is to integrate learning into your daily routine. Here are a few suggestions: 

  1. Reading: Books, newspapers, magazines or even online articles can take you on a journey of discovery. Reading not only expands your knowledge, but also stimulates your imagination and enhances your understanding of the world. 
  2. Online Courses: With advancements in technology, you can learn almost anything from the comfort of your home. Websites like Coursera or Khan Academy offer courses on a variety of subjects. There’s also TED Talks, which offers thought-provoking presentations on countless topics. 
  3. Local Community Events: Many communities host educational workshops, lectures, and events. These gatherings provide a great opportunity to learn something new, meet people with similar interests, and actively engage in your community. 
  4. Hobbies: Hobbies like painting, gardening or playing a musical instrument are not just enjoyable, but also educational. They can help develop new skills, stimulate creativity, and provide a sense of accomplishment. 
  5. Travel: If circumstances allow, traveling can be a great way to learn. Experiencing new cultures, tasting different foods, and learning new languages can provide a firsthand education that’s impossible to get in any other way. 

Remember, lifelong learning doesn’t mean becoming an expert in every subject. It’s about maintaining an open mind, staying curious, and enjoying the process of discovery. The joy lies in the journey, not just the destination. 

At Sage Collective, we encourage and celebrate a culture of continuous learning, believing it to be an essential component of vibrant living. We strive to create opportunities for our residents to explore, grow, and flourish. By choosing to stay curious and keep learning, you are not just passing time; you are creating a meaningful, engaged future. Here’s to celebrating the sage in all of us!

Sage Collective's Vibrant Living Program at Chicago Commons
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04.06.23 | Community & Lifestyle

Adapting To Your Living Space As You Age

Aging gracefully is about more than just accepting our changing appearance and the natural passage of time; it’s also about curating a living space that radiates warmth, comfort, and safety. At Sage, we believe that age-friendly home renovations are the key to creating an environment that evolves seamlessly with our residents’ needs, promoting their well-being and independence. Today, we’ll explore the transformative power of various age-friendly home renovations that can invigorate the lives of older adults.

As we age, our mobility may change, but that shouldn’t stop us from living life to the fullest. Creating a living space that is easily navigable ensures that our homes accommodate these changes, allowing us to maintain our independence and enjoy daily routines without feeling restricted. By widening doorways, installing ramps or stairlifts, and adding handrails to stairs, we can enhance accessibility and provide a sense of security and freedom.

For older adults, the bathroom can be a treacherous territory. Slippery surfaces and limited space can lead to falls and injuries. However, by installing grab bars, walk-in showers or tubs, and elevated toilet seats, we can significantly improve safety and ease of use, turning the bathroom into a tranquil haven of comfort and security.

The kitchen on the other hand is often the heart of the home, a place where we spend considerable time preparing meals and bonding with family and friends. As we age, adapting the kitchen to our needs becomes vital. Allowing us to continue savoring our culinary passions without the added strain. Installing adjustable countertops, pull-out shelves, easy-to-grip handles, and touchless features can transform your kitchen into an inviting and functional space.

Age-Proofing Your Kitchen Space

Living Spaces

Speaking of inviting spaces, our bedroom and living areas are where we relax, unwind, and recharge. Ensuring these spaces are designed for comfort and functionality is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life as we age. Selecting furniture that’s easy to get in and out of, keeping the environment clutter-free, and providing adequate space for maneuvering can make daily living more enjoyable and comfortable. Good lighting is also essential for creating inviting and safer spaces, as it helps prevent falls and makes daily tasks easier. Ensuring that all walkways, staircases, and rooms are well-lit can provide a sense of safety and well-being. Installing brighter lights, motion-activated lighting, and nightlights in key areas can make a significant difference in overall visibility and ambiance.

Next is outdoor space, creating welcoming and accessible outdoor spaces can greatly enhance an older adult’s quality of life. Spending time outdoors, whether gardening or simply enjoying a cup of tea on the patio, can provide both physical and mental health benefits. By maintaining walkways, installing slip-resistant surfaces, and creating easy-to-reach gardening beds, we can foster a connection to nature and encourage more outdoor activities.

In the end, age-friendly home renovations can significantly enhance an older adult’s quality of life. By making thoughtful adjustments to our living spaces, we create a comfortable and safe environment that supports our evolving needs. With the right planning, professional guidance, and useful resources, we can transform our homes into havens that allow us to thrive and enjoy our golden years. So, take the first step and start planning your age-friendly home renovations today!

 

Living Space
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02.16.23 | Community & Lifestyle

Overstimulation: How to Shut Out the Noise

Think back to a time when your heart was racing, and your senses were in disarray. Where your mind, body, and spirit were being swallowed by a dark torrent that refused to let go. You probably asked yourself, “what’s happening to me?” The peace you carried as you were running errands, working out, or simply walking was no longer present and neither — were you. That’s what overstimulation — in other words, sensory overload feels like, and we’re going to show you how to shut out the noise.

Sensory overload is when one or many of your senses become overstimulated. This overstimulation happens because of stressful external stimuli in your environment. Think of it as your brain trying to juggle everything all at once. Two results can happen: your brain can keep juggling until it no longer feels the need to hold onto the extra mumbo-jumbo of the day. Or it can inevitably drop everything forcefully — leaving you exhausted. 

Seek Help

One of the first things to do is to seek help from a professional. Many qualified psychologists and occupational therapists have experience treating overstimulation. Techniques like behavioral therapy, and sensory integration help patients engage with the world around them, learning healthy long-term coping mechanisms. 

Self Care

Self-care is another extremely important facet of our daily lives when it comes to managing stress. It’s ingrained into much of what we do here at Sage Collective and is vital to our Vibrant Living model. Give yourself permission, and time to rest and recharge. This means setting boundaries, putting down the phone, remote, or laptop and finding something else to redirect your time and attention towards. 

Mindful Breathing

Practice mindful breathing, scientific studies have shown that mindful breathing techniques can reduce stress and promote physical and mental well-being. Breathing essentially acts as an anchor that will keep you rooted in place against the aforementioned torrent. Finding the time to stop and take a few breaths has also been proven to release endorphins from the brain to promote a sense of relaxation and calm, give us more energy, release muscle tension and decrease pain.

We urge you to continue to find coping mechanisms and ways to restore balance in this fast-paced world, ones that you’re most comfortable with and can maintain for the long-term. Your inner peace is vital to leading a healthy and vibrant life, one that is full of purpose, and engagement.  

At peace
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12.15.22 | Community & Lifestyle

The Benefits of Befriending Your Neighbors

At Sage Collective, we strive to foster feelings of value and community. And, with engagement in social life as one of the pillars in our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, it should come as no surprise that we believe in the impact and importance of neighborliness within communities. That’s why today, we’re highlighting the significance behind knowing your neighbor.

Drawing data from a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2019, research shows that a majority of Americans don’t know most of their neighbors — and they barely talk to the ones they do know. Over the last several decades, our connections with our neighbors have been fraying. Because we’re leaving our homes with screens in our hands, and since the pandemic made us even less likely than we were before to stop and chat with new folks, most of the people living around us are strangers.

Befriending neighbors ensures a helping hand in times of need, provides new friends to explore your larger neighborhood and builds strong communities, which leads to healthier, happier and longer lives. Whether you know everything about your neighbor or they’re a stranger to you, here are a few actions you can take to ensure an enriching relationship in your community: 

The simplest way to start a friendship is by sharing a smile. Because smiling is a mood-enhancing action, not only will you feel better and less stressed, but those around you will perceive you as a welcoming person. The easy effort is the best way to start an introduction or continue a conversation where it left off. 

Small talk is something we all love to hate, but embracing the awkwardness of not knowing someone helps a ton with getting to know them! Don’t shy to chit-chat about everything from food and drinks to the latest movies and television shows to find shared interests. 

The bottom line is there’s no downside to knowing your neighbor. Befriending your neighbor only comes with a wealth of benefits. So step outside and start a conversation today!

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12.07.21 | Community & Lifestyle

Sage How-to: Carefully Shopping Online

With the giving season quickly approaching, stores are becoming overwhelmingly packed with gifts and crowds looking to purchase them; what many forget is that online shopping offers the perfect alternative to finding everything you’re searching for this holiday season. Although, as accessible and exciting as the experience is, it can come with unexpected events that may lead to negative experiences, especially during this time of year. Today, we’re highlighting the necessary steps everyone should take while shopping online to make your experience effortless and enjoyable this winter and throughout the year.

Use Familiar Websites

One of the most significant steps you can take to make sure your online shopping experience finishes without any troubles is by sticking to the websites of companies you know are trusted. It’s tempting to explore new stores, especially with the convenience of online shopping, but venturing into new sites isn’t always the best idea. To make it easier on yourself during the holiday season, make sure to bookmark all of your favorite online retailers throughout the year. If you want to shop somewhere you haven’t before, make sure to search the Better Business Bureau website for any complaints made against them, check out their online reviews, or simply call the business to verify their credibility. 

Only Shop In Secure Locations

You should avoid shopping in public spaces or businesses as much as possible if you can. Whether you are in an airport or your local cafe, public Wi-Fi connections offer the possibility for trouble. Because it can be easy for scammers to collect data through Wi-Fi connections, it’s always safest to either stay off Wi-Fi when in public or make your purchase from a secure location.

Go Mobile 

Shopping from a mobile device is easier than ever and offers some of the safest ways to protect your data while making your big purchases. Not only is shopping from your phone usually more accessible than shopping from a computer, but more and more companies are also developing apps for their customers to buy from, which frequently provide heightened security compared to their websites. While going mobile, you can also take advantage of its other affordances, including secure mobile payment options commonly protected by passwords and facial recognition. 

Check Your Statements

After making your online purchases, make sure to periodically check your bank or credit card statements for anything that looks out of the ordinary. Some accounts will even let you set up notifications alerting you of any new activity made on your card. In most cases, if possible, it’s best to use a credit card for your holiday purchases. Paying with a debit card grants easy access to your bank account for scammers, and while a compromised credit card is still not ideal, most companies offer $0 liability in cases of fraud. 

Whether you’re buying for a friend, family member, or even yourself, don’t hesitate to take control over your digital environment with these simple steps that can make your online shopping experience safer than ever, especially this holiday season.

A person with a laptop on their lap is holding a credit card ready to type the numbers in to buy something online.
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11.23.21 | Community & Lifestyle

Sage How-to: Safety and Security on the Web

At Sage Collective, one of our primary goals is to encourage older adults to participate in programming that empowers their purpose and lifestyle, often using leading-edge technology on laptops, tablets and smartphones. Today, we’re exploring the easy steps you can take to make your online experiences safe by protecting your privacy and personal information.

Create and Manage Your Passwords With Care

Passwords are a tricky element in online security. While they are meant to safeguard your sensitive information, they can be dangerous if you don’t put enough thought and responsibility into creating and managing them. When building passwords, try to use at least 12 characters, including letters, numbers and symbols — and avoid any personal information. Then keep your passwords in a protected place; writing them down and keeping the list of passwords in a secure spot is a good idea, instead of housing them on your devices. Make sure to also change/update your passwords regularly, and avoid using the same password for multiple devices or sites. And make sure to lock all of your computer, tablet and smartphone with secure passwords to prevent any unauthorized person from accessing them.

Think Twice Before Making Hasty Decisions

More and more our online experiences are interrupted by suspicious texts, emails and popups, asking for questionable information or inviting a click to an unfamiliar site. It’s imperative to assess these situations when they occur and think twice before making any decision to share your information online or be redirected to an unknown site. If you find yourself questioning the authenticity of a link, email or popup window, always use your intuition and best judgment before responding. And whenever possible, take a moment to research the source and determine if they’re legitimate.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out For Help

If you find yourself with questions about the technology devices you’re using or any programs, apps or websites, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family or community members. When you’re on specific websites and run into roadblocks, look for FAQs, online chat boxes, phone numbers or “Need Help?” resources. Or simply go to “Contact Us” forms and send an email with your questions. 

Use Social Media Wisely 

As entertaining and engaging as it can be, social media can be a misleading environment if used without care or responsibility. If you want a more private digital space, make it a priority to change settings so that only those you follow or are friends with will see your posts. And most important, limit sharing your location in your profiles, personal settings and posts. For example, it might be hard to avoid the temptation to post while on vacation, but letting the public know that you’re away can potentially lead to unwanted events back home. 

Although it may seem like extra work to be secure and safe online, the effort and care that you take when active in your digital environments can give you peace of mind and a greater sense of control over your privacy and sensitive personal information.

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04.22.21 | Health & Wellness

Chicago COVID-19 Vaccination: Where We’re At Now

As part of Sage Collective’s ongoing campaign to provide vital information regarding the COVID-19 virus, variants and vaccine to our community, we’re taking a closer look COVID-19 vaccination in Chicago, and where things stand today.

Open Eligibility

After a presidential decree stating that all U.S. adults should be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on April 19th, Chicago made it happen. This past Monday, Chicago joined the rest of Illinois (and the nation), opening vaccination appointments to all residents 16+ years of age. 

This move came just a week after Governor Pritzker announced that all Chicagoans were welcome to travel out to the suburbs to receive a vaccination dose, starting on Monday, April 12th, if they weren’t yet eligible in the city. 

Finding Your Shot

Now, Chicagoans are in a position where they can turn to local city vaccination sites to receive their shot — or they have the option to travel out to a nearby suburb if appointments in the city are hard to come by. 

To find a vaccine appointment in Chicago, you can use the city’s vaccine finder here. For those that are less inclined to use online technology, you also have the option of calling the city’s COVID-19 Help Line at 312-746-4835. Vaccine appointments can also be made at Costco Pharmacies, CVS, Jewel Osco, Mariano’s, and Walgreens. 

To find a vaccine appointment in Illinois, you can use the state’s vaccine finder here. You can also call the Illinois Department of Health Hotline at 833-621-1284 for assistance booking your appointment.

A Quick Word on Johnson & Johnson

With distrust of the vaccine already widespread, many were alarmed when distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was temporarily halted by the CDC and FDA. However, the number of those that experience side effects is slim, and the CDC and FDA continue to closely monitor the situation out of an abundance of caution. The City of Chicago’s official statement reads: 

“As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing 6 cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. We are monitoring the situation and in communication with federal partners. As we wait to learn more, we are not administering or scheduling the J&J appointments. We will continue to update as more information is available.” 

Where We’re At Now

Nearly 40% of Chicago residents 18 and older have received at least one dose. Meanwhile, that statistic falls to just 25% of all Black Chicagoans. As COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Chicago, the dangerous and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the Black community persists — while the city’s test positivity rate sat at 5.5% as of Tuesday, that number rises to 7.9% among Black Chicagoans.

As city and state officials continue to urge all residents to receive their vaccine, it becomes necessary for those officials to make a concerted effort to provide information and resources to communities of color, and to remain cognizant of the justifiable mistrust our nation’s history of public health inequity has sowed. 

At Sage Collective, we remain committed to keeping our community up-to-date with the latest information and insights. Stay tuned for more.

Orange traffic cones line a curb, with signs tied to them reading "Covid vaccine clinic parking only."
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04.13.21 | Health & Wellness

COVID-19 Vaccine Testimonial: James M. Galloway

As part of our ongoing campaign to encourage and ramp up vaccination in Black communities across America, Sage Collective is creating testimonials that showcase why people have chosen to receive the coronavirus vaccine, and what the experience was like. To start, we’re engaging our own Board of Directors and Leadership Team to share their stories. 

After sharing the experience of Sage Collective’s own Donna Gaines and Dwain Kyles, this week we interviewed Rear Admiral (Ret.) James M. Galloway, MD, FACP, FACC, a United States medical doctor and Public Health physician, and member of the Sage Collective Leadership Team.

 

Why did you personally take the COVID-19 vaccine? Did you have any reservations or questions? Do you feel you had all the information you needed to take the decision to be vaccinated? What /who were your sources of information and guidance?   

As a physician and a public health professional, as well as a pandemic preparation lead under President Obama, I felt comfortable with vaccine safety in general but, of course, I had to do my diligent research into these COVID vaccines and the science behind them before being satisfied that they were safe and effective. I researched and reviewed the studies themselves as well as looked to the CDC and FDA for their evaluations and data. After these reviews, I felt very comfortable with receiving the vaccine. 

 

When did you receive your COVID-19 vaccine and from what company (Moderna, Pfizer, etc.)? What was the experience of signing up/scheduling? Have you received both shots? Where did you have to go to get your vaccinations? What was the experience like of getting into the chair and actually receiving the shot? (If you’ve received both shots, you can break this down by each experience).

As a vaccination center volunteer, I received my first Moderna vaccine in late February and the second in early March. At our vaccination center, in Arizona, sign up was on a website and obtaining the vaccine shot was simple and straightforward, with no untoward effects.

 

How did you feel after receiving the vaccine, physically or otherwise? Did you experience any side effects?  

I had no side effects from either shot. My wife, a nurse who worked at the center as well, had some mild fatigue that evening and went to bed early – and felt fine the next day.

 

What is your doctor saying about how COVID-19 vaccination fits into your long term health plan? Are you taking any aftercare measures — if so, what?  

The risk of COVID for me was much greater than the risk of the vaccine and provides me with a sense of relief I have not felt in a year. It remains critically important, even after vaccination, to wear a mask and maintain social distancing in public and around those who have not been vaccinated as well as continuing to avoid large gatherings. However, within our household and among our close relatives, all have been vaccinated now – and you cannot believe the wonder of hugging my 5 year old granddaughter again after a year! 

 

Are you serving as a guide to others who are seeking information and reassurance about being vaccinated?  

Absolutely. I have spoken with a great number of people who were hesitant about getting the vaccine due to concerns about its safety. After I had the chance to share with them the results of my research and study, many of these individuals proceeded to get their vaccinations. 

 

Overall, what do you believe makes COVID-19 vaccination so important to society writ large, and in your specific community?  

It is imperative that we protect our families and community members by getting OUR vaccine! It is also important for us as a nation and a community to get back towards normal, to open our schools, our businesses, our communities and our homes. 

Text overlay reads: "The risk of COVID for me was much greater than the risk of the vaccine and provides me with a sense of relief I have not felt in a year."
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04.08.21 | Health & Wellness

Join a Roundtable Discussion About COVID-19 Vaccination

With Biden recently announcing all adult Americans will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19th, many are preparing their arms for the shot. But access aside — what if you still don’t want the vaccine or are questioning whether to receive your dose? 

We’re here to listen to your concerns. Tell us how you feel about these issues at our live, virtual roundtable discussion:

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. CST

During the roundtable, we invite our community members to discuss their decision to receive (or not receive) the COVID-19 vaccine. What makes you hesitant to receive the shot? What are the questions you want answered? Whether you have questions, or you know someone who could benefit from this discussion, all are welcome! 

We’ll be joined by our Leadership Team members Rear Admiral (Ret.) James M. Galloway, MD, FACP, FACC and Dr. Joseph West, experts in the fields of medicine and epidemiology, who will share their sage advice. 

Interested in attending? Please RSVP here

 

This live roundtable discussion is part of Sage Collective’s robust campaign to begin conversations about COVID-19 vaccination within our community, paying particular attention to older African Americans. 

As we seek to increase awareness of how the COVID-19 vaccine works and why it is important, we recognize that historic and systemic medical inequities in Black communities have bred justifiable mistrust. That’s why we must have meaningful conversations about our communities’ viewpoints on, and relationship to, the COVID-19 vaccination — so that we may find a solution that promotes health, safety and comfort for everyone moving forward.

Image text reads: I can get the COVID-19 vaccine, but I don't want it. Now what? Join us for a live virtual roundtable discussion Tuesday April 20, 2021, 1:00 PM CST. Image includes a photo of a vaccine vial and the Sage Collective logo
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