On Monday, August 14, Milford City Council recognized Ruth Ann Beideman for her contributions to the City over the years. Currently, Ms. Beideman is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Milford Senior Center.
“The willingness of Ms. Beideman to assist senior citizens in and around Milford has significantly raised the quality of life for senior citizens in our community and thus strengthened and enriched all of Milford,” the proclamation, read by Mayor Bryan Shupe, said. “Ms. Beideman has served as the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Milford Senior Center for many years. Since 2016, Ms. Beideman has been the Chairperson of the Sussex County Advisory Committee on Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities. I, Bryan Shupe, Mayor of the City of Milford, take this opportunity to thank and extend the appreciation of the City Council and a grateful Milford community to Ms. Ruth Ann Beideman for her many years of assisting seniors in and around the City of Milford.”
Ms. Beideiman said she was surprised and pleased by the City’s recognition of her service to Milford, a town she grew up in and has lived in all her life. Ms. Beideman said that the only time she did not live in Milford was when she attended Goldey-Beacom College in Milford and that she has great pride in Milford. She graduated from Milford High School before attending Goldey-Beacom, majoring in accounting.
“I returned to Milford because I liked living in my home town much better than living in the city,” Ms. Beideman said. “I soon found that my real passion was helping people and you can say that I have had two careers in my life that both helped people. After 34 years working at Wilmington Trust Company on Walnut Street, which is soon to be Touch of Italy, I retired. For a few years after I retired, I just did volunteer work. Two of the main organizations were The Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens which sponsors the Blue and Gold Football Game each June. The organization works with intellectually challenged persons and organizations. I also volunteered for the Milford Memorial Hospital Auxiliary where I worked with the hospital fair.” Eventually, Ms. Beideman was asked to do outreach at the Milford Senior Center on an as-needed basis as a volunteer.
Ms. Beideman said that the volunteer position was a natural fit for her because she was already helping seniors in addition to being a senior citizen herself. Soon, the Senior Center hired her as an on-call employee. When it became clear that the center needed more consistent outreach coverage, Ms. Beideman became a part-time employee. She says that in 14 years, the volume of calls increased from about 250 to 300 each year to over 1,000 each year.
“Another connection I have to the senior population is that I am currently chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities for Sussex County,” Ms. Beideman said. “Its mission is to promote and advocate for the benefit of the aging and adults with physical disabilities of Sussex County by increasing dialogue, identifying unmet needs and guiding and directing constituents to available services and programs. In this capacity, I am chairperson of the Sussex Creating Awareness of Resources for Every Senior in Sussex County (CARES) Conference which will be held on Wednesday, October 18 at the Warren L. & Charles C. Allen Jr. CHEER Center in Georgetown. It will introduce attendees to challenges of aging and resources that can help them live independently for as long as possible.”
Joining the Milford Senior Center was an easy decision for Ms. Beideman. For the greater part of her life, even in her career in banking, Ms. Beideman helped family, friends and sometimes people she didn’t know but were sent by someone who knew her for assistance. Joining the Senior Center gave her the opportunity to offer hope and assistance to many more seniors so that they could live a better quality of life during their senior years. As the Community Outreach Coordinator, Ms. Beideman works with senior citizens and their caregivers to resolve problems they may be facing. When it is a problem she cannot address, Ms. Beideman refers them to the proper agency or department that can help them.
“One thing I do is to never let a client leave my office without finding someone or something that will give them hope,” Ms. Beideman said. “Some of the things I do as part of my position is to work with people who are retiring and need help with Medicare and Medicare Prescription Part D. I also review client Medicare Prescription plans each year to make sure they are enrolled in the best plan. I find financial assistance for food, shelter, clothing, medical and the cost of prescription drugs as well as locating other services such as Limited Income Subsidy, Senior Nutrition Assistance Program, Fuel/Cooling Assistance while also locating financial assistance to help qualified persons get their home repaired so they can continue living there.”
Ms. Beideman was trained through Delaware’s Senior Medicare Patrol program on how to spot Medicare fraud, waste and abuse. Training through the Senior Medicare Patrol program gives her the ability to hep beneficiaries get the information they need when they suspect fraud, waste or abuse. She has also received training in insurance counseling and this training is updated each year. The training is provided through the Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau’s State Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), part of the Insurance Commissioner’s Office. She also has to pass an online test each year to remain certified to counsel persons about all areas of insurance. She is not allowed to sell insurance, only provide guidance in supplemental insurance.
Currently, the biggest challenge Ms. Beideman faces in her position is helping seniors find prescription drug coverage for seniors who had the Delaware Prescription Assistance Program. Finding a plan that the senior can afford and helps defray the cost of all medications is difficult, but critical since the DPAP will end as of August 31 as funding was cut for the program in the recent budget. Ms. Beideman said that DPAP was a program that paid the prescription drug plan premium and helped with the cost of certain medications for seniors whose income was within certain limits. She is currently trying to help those seniors find a new plan while also searching for programs that may provide financial assistance for expensive medications that many people are required to take.
“Everyone you talk to is quick to mention the difficulty of finding senior housing and transportation around Milford,” Ms. Beideman said about issues seniors face specifically in Milford. “They are thinking of places like the Villas and Marshall Manor which are strictly for seniors. It is difficult for seniors who are not able to get to grocery stores and doctor’s appointments and other places they would like to go because there is virtually no public transportation in Milford.” Ms. Beideman said that although housing and transportation are a problem in the area, the Mayor and City Council are working to alleviate the problems. She also believes that the renovations at the Clarke Avenue campus that will be vacated by Bayhealth next year will be beneficial to seniors. She says she believes Milford is a growing community but is still maintaining the small town feel which is a result of the hard work of the Mayor, City Council and City Departments.
Ms. Beideman, who has two sisters and a brother, as well as many nieces and nephews, says that when she is not working at the Senior Center or volunteering for other organizations, she likes to entertain in her home and spend her time with family and friends. She travels with her brother and his wife on occasion. She is also an active member of Calvary United Methodist Church where she is President of the Calvary United Methodist Women, Chairperson of the Visitation Team and a member of a committee planning a ladies tea for next spring.
“I want to say thank you to Mayor Shupe and the Milford City Council for the tribute that was presented to me,” Ms. Beideman said. “The thing I enjoy most about my position is the opportunity I have to offer hope to people as I work to locate assistance or programs that will afford them the opportunity to remain independent longer than they could otherwise. The tribute was a complete surprise and a commendation I never expected to receive because there are so many deserving people in Milford. I do truly appreciate the recognition. The tribute is something I will always proudly display.”