Former first lady Rosalynn Carter is diagnosed with dementia

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia, the Carter family said Tuesday.

The announcement, which was released by the Carter Center, comes as Carter’s husband, former President Jimmy Carter, is receiving hospice care at their home in Plains, Georgia.

The center said in a statement that Rosalynn Carter, 95, “continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones.”

“Mrs. Carter has been the nation’s leading mental health advocate for much of her life” and has “improved access to care and decreased stigma about issues surrounding mental health.”

The statement noted that, “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 did not say when she had been diagnosed or give any more details on her condition. It noted her work supporting caregivers through her non-profit.

“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 statement said. “The universality of caregiving is clear in our family, and we are experiencing the joy and the challenges of this journey.”

“We do not expect to comment further and ask for understanding for our family and for everyone across the country serving in a caregiver role.”

FILE - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, sit together during a reception to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary on Saturday, July 10, 2021, in Plains, Ga. On Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, Carter, the second-oldest U.S. first lady ever, turns 95. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool, File)
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, sit together during a reception to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary, in Plains, Ga., on July 10, 2021.John Bazemore / Pool via AP file

In February, the Carter Center announced that Jimmy Carter, 98, had begun receiving hospice care at home.

“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 center said then. 

The couple’s grandson, Jason Carter, said last week that his grandparents have “been together 70-plus years. 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,” the grandson said.

Jimmy Carter is the oldest living former president and was the first president born in a hospital. 

Blayne Alexander contributed.

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