Women for Hospice donate nearly 1,000 lbs. of Food!

By Susan Bennett

Regional Development Director


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Foundation Driver Jim Shafar brought the food back and helped unload, ready for Peggy Sredl to sort and stack for the social workers.


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Social Services Administrative Assistant Peggy Sredl (right) and the new Transitions Coordinator Orea Williams (left), finish stacking the last of the donated food in the pantry.



The Women for Hospice are so good to Cornerstone and regularly ask how they can help with patient care in addition to their monetary donations.  Staff mentioned that the food pantry in Tavares was nearly empty after the winter.  Therefore on March 23rd the Women for Hospice held a food drive at their monthly luncheon.  The ladies truly filled the Tavares Food Pantry for the coming spring and early summer months with 981 pounds of non-perishable food!   Our social workers can happily help provide our patients and families with nutritious food, thanks to the generosity of our wonderful Women for Hospice volunteers!    




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The April 10 Health Fair floor space was full to capacity with Cornerstone Hospice staff lining up for information, literature and services provided by 31 vendors and suppliers participating at the Health Fair held at Celebration of Praise Church in Clermont.  Photo provided by Greg Sale, OMS Financial Group

Community Relations

By Cheryl Rumbley, Community Relations Coordinator in Lake and Sumter

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Our bowling winners are Christine Cole, Kelley Cole, Denise Sbel, and Karla Hunt with the trophy.


On April 14th Cornerstone participated in the 2nd Annual Health Care Bowling Extravaganza to support fundraising efforts for LovExtension, a local not-for-profit that visits individuals who’s families live elsewhere and who need a bit of attention and love to help make them feel special.  The event was held at Classique Bowling Lanes in Tavares and was a fun and competitive time for all the participants. Six teams competed - two from Umatilla Pharmacy.  The Cornerstone team included Karla Hunt, Denise Sbei, Christina Cole and her husband Kelley.  They brought home the third place trophy which sits proudly in our lobby area at Tavares Center.  Christina and Kelley’s 14 year old son, Hunter, also participated by rounding out another teams roster, helping them take home the first place prize (thanks,  Hunter for helping out!?)    This is an annual event with door prizes, silent auction and 50/50 and we can have more than one team.  Ask one of the team members how much they enjoyed the time together and consider bowling for Cornerstone next year.



By Claire Gaynor, Community Relations Coordinator - Orange & Osceola


Spring is a time when everything seems greener, the temperature is perfect and colors are brighter.  A time to clean out the closets at home, or in the office, as well as taking on our gardens with new foliage.  Our teams have definitely been cleaning out the closets to have a garage sale for our hospice as well as fresh baked goods.  It is a great way to let our community know we are here, learn about us and do lots of team work to sell all that has been brought in for this yard sale and all for a good cause.


Claudia Swonger recently gave a presentation to Holy Family Catholic Church bereavement volunteers where she was asked to do a bereavement support group for the Church.  Holy Family Church has a very large congregation that will support Claudia’s efforts.   Claudia has also started a new support group in Osceola County at Porta Coeli Funeral Home the 1st Thursday of each month from 6 to 7:30 pm.


Spring would not be spring without health fairs!   Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church included us in its health fair this year that was well attended by Eatonville community.  Willie Mincey, Interfaith Chaplain and Diversity Council member as well as a pastor of a church in Polk County, came over to attend and meet with this congregation’s community.  Sandy Yochem and I attended Senior Care Pharmacy Spring Fling at Champtionsgate where Cornerstone Hospice exhibited for attendees. 

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Willie Mincey at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church Health Fair in Orlando. 

By Ginny Wolfe, Community Relations Coordinator-Polk, Hardee, Highlands


Cornerstone Hospice at Theatre Winter Haven


On Tuesday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 4, I led the ‘talkback’ question and answer session at the Theatre Winter Haven’s stage-read production of ‘Rabbit Hole’.  The play, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008.  It is about a family grieving the loss of a 4 year old child.  The play explores the feelings of the child’s mother, father, aunt, grandmother, and also the 17 year old who was driving the car and hit the child.  Questions centered on whether the play accurately depicts how different individuals experience and express grief, and the services available locally to help people cope.  I shared information about Cornerstone’s patient care and bereavement services.  This is just one more way that Community Relations is reaching the community at large to educate and inform the public about the mission and work of our hard-working and dedicated hospice staff!


Mother’s Day Remembrance


Join us on Thursday, May 10 at 5:30 p.m. as the Silver and Pearl teams remember and honor the mothers we miss.  The service will include readings, poetry, music and a candle ceremony followed by light refreshments.  Location is the Winter Haven Office at 2590 Havendale Boulevard.  RSVP to Ginny Wolfe at 863-291-5565. 

We appreciate our volunteers!

Julia A. Allen, Community Relations Manager

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Mary Manrique, CEO, and "T" Clark



Tonette "T" Clark is one of our front-desk volunteers at the hospice center in Tavares.  Mary Manrique, CEO,  was admiring “T’s" very well-coordinated outfit.  As you can see both Mary and “T” are fashion plates.  "T" works at several paying jobs but likes volunteering her time with us on Thursday mornings.  She insists she is well-paid for Thursday mornings.  “T” is single with no kids and became interested in volunteering when a friend, one of our nurses on The Villages team suggested she apply.  She really likes it and lights up Thursday mornings!



Gold Standard Award Pays Off!

By Desirée Coleman-Cohrn

Director of Planned Gifts and Major Gifts Cornerstone Hospice Foundation



Have you ever visited a patient who needed an item to enhance his/her comfort but couldn't afford it? Most of you have probably witnessed times when a patient needed a pair of slippers or socks, a warm blanket, a fan or maybe even a window a/c unit because the one he/she has is broken. It's these little things that make a big difference in the life of our patients. 


The Foundation's Gold Standard Award (GSA) does just that; it provides resources for teams members who see a need and make it happen. The GSA empowers our team members to spend up to $150 to help a patient or patient's family in any way they feel would be beneficial.  This may even include utility bills, holiday meals, groceries, birthday gifts for a younger patient, salon service, etc.


To get reimbursed you would contact the Foundation for an Awards Form.  You'll need receipt(s) to attach to the completed form. There are no cash awards, only specific items / services that are purchased.


As you may know, the Foundation funds several bigger programs such as the entire Transitions program, Children's Bereavement, Cornerstone SALUTES!  Volunteer Coordinators, and the construction and maintenance of all four Hospice Houses. But, it’s the little things that make a big difference, and it’s all of you who make Cornerstone designated by our patients as their charity of choice.


Remember, be creative while making a GSA difference! For more information or to request a form, please call the Foundation 742-6800.



403(b) Retirement Plan News

By Michael E. Metcalf, PHR, Human Resources Director



Did you know there is no annual or open enrollment period for our 403(b) Employee Retirement Plan?  That’s right.  Unlike our medical, dental, vision and other benefit plans where we must enroll each year during a designated enrollment period, we can enroll any time during the year into our 403(b) retirement plan.


Due to budget constraints the past few years, Cornerstone Hospice has not contributed as much as in previous years.  For this reason some employees have decided to no longer contribute or to reduce the amount they contribute to their plan.  This is a personal decision which each of us must make based upon our own financial situation.


However, one thing to consider when making that decision is employees who do not contribute to their plan do not share in the distribution of the forfeiture funds.  Distribution of those funds is based upon the amount the employee contributes to their plan. 


Forfeiture funds are created whenever an employee who is not fully vested leaves employment with Cornerstone.  The non-vested matching funds Cornerstone contributed to the former employee while they were still employed are forfeited by the former employee.


As you may know our plan has vesting requirements which must be met before those matching funds belong to the participant who is no longer employed with Cornerstone.  The funds that are not vested are placed into a forfeiture account.  At the beginning of the new plan year those funds are distributed to current employee participant accounts pro rata.


If you contributed through payroll deductions to your 403(b) retirement plan during 2011, please take a moment to check your account to ascertain your new balance.


For more information contact Mike Metcalf at x-6825.





Calculating Your Retirement Needs

Michael E. Metcalf, PHR, Human Resources Director


Remember that your ultimate goal is to save as much money as possible for retirement regardless of what any calculator might suggest.


Calculating a retirement savings goal is one of the most important steps investors can take to help determine if they are on pace to meet that goal. However, less than half of American workers have tried to figure out how much money they will need to accumulate for retirement;1 and the wide majority of these individuals admit that they either guessed or did their own calculations. What about you?



Planning Matters

What's important to realize is that the exercise of calculating a retirement savings goal does more than simply provide you with a dollars and cents estimate of how much you'll need for the future. It also requires you to visualize the specific details of your retirement dreams and to assess whether your current financial plans are realistic, comprehensive, and up-to-date.


Action Plans

The following four strategies will help you do a better job of identifying and pursuing your retirement savings goals.

  1. Double-check your assumptions. Before you do anything else, answer these important questions: When do you plan to retire? How much money will you need each year? Where and when do you plan to get your retirement income? Are your investment expectations in line with the performance potential of the investments you own?
  1. Use a proper "calculator." The best way to calculate your goal is by using one of the many interactive worksheets now available free of charge online and in print. Each type features questions about your financial situation as well as blank spaces for you to provide answers. An online version will perform the calculation automatically and respond almost instantly with an estimate of how much you may need for retirement and how much more you should try to save to pursue that goal. If you do the calculation on a paper worksheet, however, you might want to have a traditional calculator on hand to help with the math. Remember that your ultimate goal is to save as much money as possible for retirement regardless of what any calculator might suggest.
  1. Contribute more. Do you think you could manage to save another $10 or $20 extra each pay period? If so, here's some motivation to actually do it: Contributing an extra $20 each week to your plan could provide you with an additional $130,237 after 30 years, assuming 8% annual investment returns.2  It's also a good idea to increase contributions annually, such as after a pay raise.
  1. Meet with an advisor. A financial professional can help you determine a strategy -- and help you stick to it.

Retirement will likely be one of the biggest expenses in your life, so it's important to maintain an accurate price estimate and financial plan. Make it a priority to calculate your savings goal at least once a year.


1Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey, March 2011.
2This example is hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. Your results will vary. Investment returns cannot be guaranteed.



Wellness Corner - High Blood Pressure

Submitted by Tammy Holt, Wellness Committee Member


We’ve heard the term high blood pressure on a regular basis, but what does that actually mean?


Blood pressure measures the force pushing outwards on your arterial walls.

The organs in your body need oxygen to survive. Oxygen is carried through the body by the blood. When the heart beats, it creates pressure that pushes blood through a network of tube-shaped arteries and veins. The pressure --- blood pressure --- is the result of two forces. The first force occurs as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system. The second force is created as the heart rests between heart beats. (These two forces are each represented by numbers in a blood pressure reading.)


Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio like this:


117         The top number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures

 76           the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.


The bottom number, which is also the lower of the two numbers, 

 measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the

 heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).


This chart reflects blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association.



Blood Pressure                                 Systolic                                   Diastolic

Category                                             mm Hg (upper #)                  mm Hg (lower #)


Normal                                                 less than 120            and       less than 80


Prehypertension                                120 - 139                     or                80 - 89


High Blood Prssure                            140 - 159                    or                90 - 99

(Hypertension) Stage 1


High Blood Pressure                          160 or higher            or           100 or higher

(Hypertension) Stage 2


Hypertensive Crisis                            Higher than 180        or       Higher than 110

(Emergency care needed)



You may not feel that anything is wrong, but high blood pressure can permanently damage your heart, brain, eyes and kidneys before you feel anything. High blood pressure can often lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other health consequences. 


Memorize your numbers and to view your risk for high blood pressure click on the HBP Health Risk Calculator at http://www.heart.org/beatyourrisk/en_US/main.html.    Even if your blood pressure is normal, you should consider making lifestyle modifications to prevent the development of HBP and improve your heart health.