Rosalynn Carter, the 96-year-old former first lady, remains in hospice care at home, Carter Center says

(Ron Harris/Associated Press)

Rosalynn Carter, the 96-year-old former first lady, remains in hospice care at home, Carter Center says


November 18, 2023

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter remains in a hospice home in Plains, Georgia, with former President Jimmy Carter, who has been receiving end-of-life care since February.



That’s what the Carter family said

on Friday

they are grateful for the outpouring of love and support, but asked for privacy. The Carters have been married for 77 years and are the longest married presidential couple in American history.

The family announced earlier this year that the 96-year-old former first lady is suffering from dementia. The former president, now 99, was admitted to a hospice at home in February but remains alert, his loved ones say.

They were together during Jimmy Carter’s rise from their Georgia farm to his election as president in 1976. After his defeat in 1980, the couple founded the Carter Center in Atlanta as a global center to advocate for


human rights, democracy and public health.

I loved politics, Rosalynn Carter told the Associated Press in 2021. She said she had “the best time campaigning on behalf of her husband in what they both describe as a full partnership.

Long after he left the White House, Jimmy Carter said: The best thing that ever happened to me in my life was when she said she was going to marry me.

The family’s announcement Friday brought a new round of tributes.

Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock called the former first lady a remarkable woman of great faith and said her service to Georgia and our country is part of an incredible legacy.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization who has worked with the Carters on public health initiatives for decades, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was thinking of the former First Lady and the President tonight and appreciated their appreciation. Lifelong commitment to making the world a better, fairer and healthier place for everyone.

The couple’s grandson, Jason Carter, said in a recent interview that his grandparents enjoyed spending their final chapter together at home and celebrating their long lives, family and love in the same small Georgia town where they were both born .

That word love is really the word that certainly defines their personal relationship, but also the way they approach this world, said Jason Carter, who is now chairman of the Carter Centers’ board of directors.

In addition to her role as presidential advisor, Rosalynn Carter became one of the world’s leading advocates for mental health care and expanding the role of health care providers in American life. She helped the Carter administration pass major health care legislation during her husband’s term, and she continued her work after their years in the White House by founding a fellowship where journalists could focus on more effective ways to discuss mental health issues .

For years, she emphasized the need to reduce the stigma attached to people struggling with mental illness. Decades after leaving the White House, she testified on Capitol Hill, urging Congress to put treatment and insurance for mental health problems on par with other conditions in the U.S. health care system. She traveled the world to help developing countries cope with their lack of mental health resources.

I want people to know what I know that today, thanks to research and our knowledge of the brain, mental illnesses can be diagnosed and treated effectively, and that the majority of those with these illnesses can recover and live fulfilling lives by going to school, to work, raise a family and be productive citizens in their communities, she said.

At the height of the Carters’ political power, the Washington press corps in the late 1970s dubbed Rosalynn Carter the Steel Magnolia, reflecting the quiet grace stereotypical of the era’s Southern political women and a hard core made her a force on behalf of her husbands. her own rights.

She knew what she wanted to accomplish, said Kathy Cade, White House adviser to Rosalynn Carter.

To expand the role of first lady, she worked in her own office in the East Wing with her own staff and on her own initiative. She also huddled with the president’s advisers and attended top-level meetings, raising eyebrows in Washington power circles.

She said nothing during Cabinet meetings, but she wanted to be fully informed so she could give her husband good advice, said Carter biographer Jonathan Alter.

Age considers Rosalynn Carters’ only colleagues to be influential first ladies, namely Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton, although he said the Carters’ partnership was more seamless because it lacked the infidelities and personal drama of the Roosevelts and Clintons.

The band also brought about friendly rivalry and humor: I never thought I’d marry that old, Jimmy Carter said facetiously when his wife was 91.

They often rushed to finish writing their next books or tried to beat the others at tennis, skiing, or some other pursuit.

Rosalynn Carter was central to her husband’s political campaigns, beginning with his first Senate race in 1962.

In the beginning I wrote letters to people. He would go out and I would write letters to them, she told the Associated Press. But then it developed into a full-time job for me, working to help him get elected.

She first campaigned solo during Jimmy Carter’s 1966 bid for governor. She was initially nervous but warmed to the role and ultimately demonstrated what White House adviser Stuart Eizenstat called an uncanny political instinct.

At the White House, it was Rosalynn Carter who urged her husband to think more about the 1980 election as he set priorities, and to discuss how decisions could play out in the media. When Jimmy Carter stayed in Washington to do everything he could to free the American hostages in Iran, the first lady found himself on the trail of his re-election campaign.

The last time we ran, I campaigned hard every day, she told the AP.

Her emphasis on mental health and reducing stigma traced back to her husband’s campaigns in Georgia.

Voters waited patiently to talk about their family problems, she once wrote. After hearing a factory worker’s story overnight about caring for her stricken child, Rosalynn Carter decided to take the issue to the candidate. She showed up unannounced at her husband’s meeting that day and stood in line to shake his hand, just like everyone else.


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