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Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia, family says

The Carter Center released a statement on Tuesday afternoon.

PLAINS, Ga. — The Carter Center announced on Tuesday that former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia.

The statement from the Carter Center says she continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones. 

This comes a little over three months since the Carter Center announced that former President Jimmy Carter was moving into hospice care. 

Last week it was relayed that Jimmy Carter remains in good spirits as he visits with family, follows public discussion of his legacy and receives updates on The Carter Center's humanitarian work around the world, his grandson says. He's even enjoying regular servings of ice cream.

“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 Carter said last week of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, now 98 and 95 years old.

Last week Jason Carter addressed a crowd on May 23 about his grandparents.

“They’re just like all of y’all’s grandparents — I mean, to the extent y’all’s grandparents are rednecks from south Georgia,” he said. “If you go down there even today, next to their sink they have a little rack where they dry Ziplock bags.”

Carter said they were glad that his grandparents have been able to experience the tributes while alive.

“We did think that when he went into hospice it was very close to the end,” he told attendees. “Now, I’m just going to tell you, he’s going to be 99 in October.”

Here is the full statement below from the Carter Center and Carter family.

“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.

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.

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. 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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