In a recent interview, President Carter’s grandson, Josh, noted that his grandparents are in the “final chapter” of their life as they get hospice care and Rosalynn Carter struggles with dementia.
He said, “The chances are I’m gonna lose my grandpa before my grandma.”
Simply said, “He’s in hospice, and she’s not.”
After a series of brief hospitalizations in January and February, the former president, at 98 years old, decided to spend his remaining days at home with family and hospice care.
The Carter Center announced Rosalynn’s dementia diagnosis in May.
The former president and first lady recently celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary, making them the longest-married first couple in American history.
They’ve done everything possible as a couple. “They are still holding hands… It’s simply incredible,” Josh Carter said.
After enduring many falls and battling melanoma, a skin disease that had spread to his liver and brain, Mr. Carter decided to enter hospice care in February. Hospice care, as defined by the American Medical Association, is provided to terminally ill patients to alleviate their pain and other symptoms.
On Friday, however, Mr. Carter became the longest-living president in U.S. history. His 99th birthday is on October 1, and according to Josh Carter, his family is “surprised and happy” that they will be able to celebrate it.
On Friday, Mrs. Carter reached a personal milestone by turning 96 years old. According the Carter Center, who revealed her dementia diagnosis in May, she enjoyed peanut butter ice cream with her family and friends while celebrating her birthday. They continue to make their home in Plains, Georgia (Mr. Carter is well-known for having grown up on a peanut farm in the area).
Josh reports that she still takes great satisfaction in receiving guests in the family home and is particularly fond of seeing her great-grandchildren play outside.
Despite her illness, Mrs. Carter has never forgotten that Mr. Carter is her husband.
It’s been heartbreaking for Josh Carter to see his grandparents, who have shared “everything in the human experience,” enter the last phase of their life together. But he said they’re doing OK, considering their ages.
It’s still a home filled with love and family, he assured them. And that’s exactly how they planned it!