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Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Has Dementia, Is Living ‘Happily at Home’ with Husband Jimmy Carter

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Has Dementia, Is Living 'Happily at Home' with Husband Jimmy Carter
President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, who is married to former President Jimmy Carter, has been diagnosed with dementia.

The Carter family announced the news on Tuesday, May 30, revealing in a statement that Rosalynn, 95, continues to live happily at home with her husband, 98.

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“Mrs. Carter has been the nation’s leading mental health advocate for much of her life,” the family’s statement continued. “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 update on Rosalynn’s health comes three months after the 39th U.S. president entered hospice care. “After a series of short hospital stays, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention,” the Carter Center, Jimmy and Rosalynn’s nonprofit, announced in a February statement. “He has the full support of his family and his medical team. The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”

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Earlier this month, Jimmy’s grandson Jason Carter shared an update on how the former politician has been faring since entering hospice care. “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, 47, said of his grandparents in a May 23 interview with the Associated Press.

The lawyer added that his grandfather was touched by the vocal support he received since his announcing his decision to seek at-home hospice care. “That’s been one of the blessings of the last couple of months,” said Jason, who is the son of Jimmy and Rosalynn’s eldest son, Jack Carter, and wife ex-wife Juliette “Judy” Langford. “He is certainly getting to see the outpouring and it’s been gratifying to him for sure.”

Rosalynn and Jimmy (whose full name is James Earl Carter Jr.) live in their hometown of Plains, Georgia. The couple tied the knot in 1946 and have lived in the same home since 1961.

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The United States Naval Academy graduate served one term as governor of Georgia before becoming the Democratic Party’s nominee for the 1976 presidential election. After triumphing over Republican incumbent Gerald Ford, Jimmy took office in January 1977 and served one term. He lost the 1980 election to Republican nominee Ronald Reagan and left office in 1981.

The following year, Jimmy and Rosalynn founded the Carter Center, a nonprofit organization with the goals of advancing democracy, fighting disease and encouraging peace worldwide. Jimmy’s work with the center earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

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