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Margaret’s journey to a renewed life and better health

Sometimes one decision can change your life. With the help of her doctor and the community center, Margaret changed her life for the better.

August 10, 2023 | 3-minute read

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Dr. Al Goldansky is an Optum internal medicine specialist. He practices in Phoenix, Arizona. Margaret has been his patient for almost 20 years.

Margaret, age 78, lives alone and has lived in the Phoenix area her whole life. In 2010, she retired after working 50 years at a local car dealer.

Throughout the years, Margaret has been through mental hardships. In 1999 her life was turned upside down when her dad passed away, and in 2002 her mom passed away, too. Then, shortly after, her friend passed away.

“My whole world collapsed,” Margaret said.

Margaret found herself struggling mentally. To make matters worse, her health started to decline. She had 3 surgeries, 3 years in a row.

First, there was heart surgery. Then she needed a hernia repaired. Finally, she needed surgery for breast cancer. “Each time I had a little bit of a break,” said Margaret. “But the breaks helped, because I came back stronger each time.”

Through all of that, Margaret is a breast cancer survivor. But she struggles with advanced kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

Margaret would always try to lose weight, but then would gain it back shortly after. She was struggling and knew she needed help.

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Margaret, 78, Medicare Advantage Optum patient

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The choice that changed her life

One day, something changed.

Dr. Goldansky saw a flyer about the Optum Community Center. He immediately thought of Margaret and how this might be what she needed to turn her life around. She can make friends, be active and be a part of a community.

At each visit, Dr. Goldansky handed Margaret a flyer about the Optum Community Center. Since she’s an Optum patient and has a Medicare Advantage plan, there would be no cost to her.

Margaret chose to ignore the flyer until one day something clicked. She was driving by the Deer Valley Community Center.

“I was at the lowest point in my life. I mean, I just was not happy with myself. I just was not a happy person,” she said.

She took a chance and went in. And she hasn’t looked back since.

“The thing about Dr. Goldansky is that he never gave up on me. He must have handed me a hundred flyers. I finally took note and I went in,” Margaret said.

His advice was simple. He wanted her to exercise and meet other people.

For Margaret, Optum is a place where you can walk in and the team just takes care of you. Our doctors' approach to care isn’t someone just punching the numbers. It’s thinking about the whole person.

Dr. Goldansky believes keeping people engaged in their health can help them live a healthier, longer life.

A community she never knew she needed

Margaret loves to be a part of the community. “I just found a place here that makes me happy, that keeps me going. It makes me want to be a better person. I want to be active in the community.”

She goes to the center 4 times a week. She puts a smile on everyone’s face when she enters the room. Her favorite classes are healthy eating, BrainSavers and chair dancing classes. She even met some of her best friends at the center.

“The community center gave her a family. People know who she is when she walks into the community center. She has a great social circle,” says Dr. Goldansky. “She looks forward to going there every week.”

Having support is key

When Dr. Goldansky met Margaret, she was very overweight, depressed and her blood sugar levels were too high. She didn’t socialize much. She didn’t have an interest in her health. Now it’s the opposite.

Because of Dr. Goldansky’s advice and support, she’s very engaged, meeting new people and learning health tips every day. Margaret has lost 115 pounds and kept it off. She used to be on insulin but doesn’t need it anymore, thanks to Optum and the community center.

Dr. Goldansky says, “It’s all about the support. That’s the difference for a lot of people. All they need is a little support system.”

These healthy habits have been good for Margaret’s kidneys, too. Dr. Goldansky says, “She's my star patient. I've rarely seen a turnaround like this. It's most impressive. Just a new person.”

Margaret wouldn’t be able to do this if it weren’t for her care team and health plan. Since she’s retired, she thinks about the cost. With her Medicare Advantage plan, she can have more opportunities through a wide variety of resources to help her live a healthier life.

“I would not be here if it wasn’t for Optum. I know I wouldn’t be here today.” And it’s all because Dr. Goldansky never gave up on her. Margaret truly turned her life around. She now enjoys a happier, more fulfilling life.

"Optum is giving me better care, and definitely for less money,” she added. Now Margaret finally feels like herself again.

Get more care for a better value, like Margaret

Looking for a change, like Margaret? Learn how you can get more from your care at a better value. 

Call now to find a doctor and plan:

(Calling this number will direct you to a licensed insurance agent.)

We can help you find an Optum doctor in your area. We can also put you in touch with a Medicare expert. They can help you choose a Medicare Advantage plan.

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*The contact information listed will direct you to a licensed representative that works with Medicare enrollees to explain Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan options. There may not be plans available in your area. Any information provided is limited to those plans offered in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.