Rosalynn Carter, wife of Jimmy Carter, joins husband in hospice care | US politics

Jimmy Carter’s wife Rosalynn has entered hospice treatment at home, the former first lady joining the 99-year-old ex-president in end-of-life care at the couple’s Georgia residence, her family said on Friday.

The news came in a brief statement released by the human rights non-profit Carter Center, on behalf of Jason Carter, the grandson of the 39th president and his 96-year-old wife.

“Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has entered hospice care at home,” the statement said. “She and President Carter are spending time with each other and their family. The Carter family continues to ask for privacy and remains grateful for the outpouring of love and support.”

Rosalynn Carter – who married her husband in 1946, more than three decades before they entered the White House after the Democrat won the 1976 general election – was diagnosed with dementia in May, the Carter Center announced at the time.

Jimmy Carter, a one-term president and former Georgia governor who became a respected international diplomat after leaving office, himself entered home hospice care in February after declining further medical intervention for a number of health issues.

He had a mass removed from his liver in 2015, later declaring he had melanoma that had also spread to his brain. He announced he was cancer-free later that year after radiation and immunotherapy but suffered a series of falls, resulting in hospital care for bleeding on the brain, and had a hip replacement aged 94.

Carter – a keen painter and peanut farmer before his political career took off – had three younger siblings, two sisters and a brother, who all died of pancreatic cancer between 1983 and 1990.

Their father, James Earl Carter Sr, died of the same disease in 1953. And their mother, Bessie, died of breast cancer in 1983.

Jason Carter paid tribute to his grandparents’ longevity and accomplishments at Jimmy Carter’s 99th birthday party last month, at the same one-story house in Plains the couple lived in since before he was elected to the Georgia senate in 1962.

“The remarkable piece to me and I think to my family is that while my grandparents have accomplished so much, they have really remained the same sort of south Georgia couple that lives in a 600-person village where they were born,” he said.

Political allies were also complimentary. “If Jimmy Carter were a tree, he’d be a towering, old southern oak. He’s as good and tough as they come,” Donna Brazile, a former Democratic party national chair, said.

The Carter Center has been silent on Rosalynn Carter’s health since its May statement, in which it paid tribute to her renowned mental health advocacy.

“Mrs Carter has been the nation’s leading mental health advocate for much of her life. 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,” it said.

“We hope sharing our family’s news will increase important conversations at kitchen tables and in doctor’s offices around the country.”

As the founder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, the May statement added, she “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. 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.”

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