Flushing's Dr. John Mattox was one of six Ohioans presented with the state's Elder Caregiver Award on May 22 at the Ohio Statehouse.
The honor recognizes those who have successfully taken on the responsibilities of caring for a friend, loved one or neighbor, while also balancing the needs of work, children or other family members and the community.
"The majority of older adults want to stay home as they age,"
Dr. John Mattox, director of the Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, was honored by the Ohio Department of Aging with an Elder Caregiver Award for exemplifying the caregiving spirit in caring for his wife, Rosalind, while also serving the community.
and we know that more than 80 percent of caregiving is done by family and friends," said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the department. "These caregivers exemplify caring with their valuable contributions and we need to honor all they do."
Mattox gave his wife, Rosalind, around-the-clock care for four years until she passed away in November. "Rozz," as she was known to friends, had a recurring brain tumor that required multiple surgeries and led to seizures and chronic weakness.
Mattox provided her personal care, such as bathing, brushing her teeth, preparing meals and feeding. He also dispensed her medications and moved her around the house so she would be more comfortable. He discussed politics with her to keep her engaged while he did the regular household chores.
He utilized technology and human support to increase his ability to meet her needs. She stayed connected with the world via the Internet, and when her physical abilities declined, Mattox set up voice recognition software to keep her engaged. He also used a monitor to watch Rozz when he went the store or left the house for a bit, so he could return quickly should she need him.
Mattox coordinated with staff at Area Agency on Aging 9 for support, and the couple's two children took turns visiting on the weekends, with Rozz's four grandchildren.
Today, Mattox takes care of himself by gardening and planting flowers that Rozz loved, like orchids.
He also is the curator of the Underground Railroad museum in Flushing and is a member of several organizations, including "A Special Wish Foundation."
Since 1995, the Elder Caregiver Award has symbolically honored all Ohioans who lovingly care for family and friends by recognizing outstanding individuals who dedicate their lives to the care of others. To be eligible, the caregiver or care recipient must be age 60 or older and caregiving must not be job-related. Each year, the Ohio Department of Aging solicits nominations from partner organizations and the general public. Honorees were evaluated by a selection committee using a formal rating system.