While her husband remains in hospice care at home, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has also been dealing with her own health issues. At 95 years old, new reports have revealed that Rosalynn has been diagnosed with dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is “a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia.”
In a statement issued by the Carter Foundation, it was revealed that despite her diagnosis, Rosalynn is happy and still living at home with her beloved husband. “The Carter family is sharing that former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia. She continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones,” the statement began.
“Mrs. Carter has been the nation’s leading mental health advocate for much of her life. First in the Georgia Governor’s Mansion, then in the White House, and later at The Carter Center, she urged improved access to care and decreased stigma about issues surrounding mental health. One in 10 older Americans have dementia, a condition that affects overall mental health. We recognize, as she did more than half a century ago, that stigma is often a barrier that keeps individuals and their families from seeking and getting much-needed support. We hope sharing our family’s news will increase important conversations at kitchen tables and in doctor’s offices around the country.”
The statement concluded with the family noting that they will not comment further on Rosalynn’s health and asked for the public’s understanding. “As the founder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, Mrs. Carter often noted that there are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers. The universality of caregiving is clear in our family, and we are experiencing the joy and the challenges of this journey.”
On February 18, Jimmy Carter – the 39th President of the United States – decided to forgo additional medical treatment and, instead, spend his remaining time at home, with his family, and under the care of hospice. The news was announced by The Carter Center and came after several short hospital stays.
Now more than three months later, Carter’s grandson, Jason Carter – one of 22 grandchildren – is providing a health update as his grandfather continues to receive hospice care. Jason spoke with the Associated Press and described his grandfather’s situation as being ‘as good as it can be’ at the moment.
“They’re just meeting with family right now, but they’re doing it in the best possible way: the two of them together at home,” Jason said of the former President and First Lady, Rosalynn Carter – who has been with her husband every step of the way. They’ll be celebrating their 77th wedding anniversary on July 7.
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“They also know that they’re not in charge. Their faith is really grounding in this moment. In that way, it’s as good as it can be,” Jason Carter continued – adding that his grandfather has taken notice of the enormous amount of support and outpouring of love he has received online over the past few months.
Jimmy Carter and His Love for Peanuts
And that’s not the only thing that’s bringing him peace and joy at home. According to his grandson, Jimmy Carter enjoys sitting down for a bowl of his favorite ice cream – peanut butter. It’s a fitting choice for the former President, who took over his family-owned peanut farm in the early 1950s after his father died.
Jimmy Carter helped revive the farm and remained in charge until 1977, when he took office as the 39th President of the United States – defeating Gerald Ford by 2.1% of the popular vote and 297-240 in the electoral vote. He served one term as President before losing the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan.
In 1982, Carter founded The Carter Center ‘on a fundamental commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering.’ With the help of his wife and Emory University, Jimmy Carter and his foundation seek to ‘prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.’
Carter has experienced a variety of health complications over the past few years – including a cancer diagnosis in 2015. Outside of his brief cancer battle, he has suffered numerous injuries since then as a result of falling in his home – including a broken hip, forehead injury, black eye, and minor pelvic fracture.
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The former President is 98 years old right now and will be turning 99 on October 1. While doctors have found a way to help him live a little bit longer, there’s no telling how much time he has left. Either way, he’ll go down as the longest-living President in United States’ history – surpassing George H.W. Bush at 94.
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