COLUMBUS - Flushing's Dr. John Mattox is one of six Ohioans who will be presented with the state's Elder Caregiver Award on Tuesday, May 22 at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium.
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, 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.
John 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, John 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.
John 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, John 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."
Other honorees include:
Linda also cares for her mother and includes her in all family activities. She works hard to make the family's limited resources go farther.
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.
The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that our elders are respected as vital members of society who continue to grow, thrive and contribute. We work with state agencies and community partners, including area agencies on aging, to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, caregiver support, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.