The family of Rosalynn Carter, the former US First Lady, said in a statement that she has dementia and lives happily at home with her husband, former US president Jimmy Carter. The family said they hoped to raise awareness and reduce stigma about the condition by sharing their news.
They said they would not comment further and asked for respect for their family and for all caregivers in the country.
Jimmy Carter, who is 98 and a Nobel peace laureate, has been in hospice care at home since mid-February. He and Rosalynn Carter, who is 95, have been married for nearly 77 years and are the longest-married first couple in US history. They have been partners in Jimmy Carter’s political career and public service. Rosalynn Carter has been a champion for mental health and caregiving causes.
The statement said: “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.”
Rosalynn Carter was born in Plains, Georgia, on August 18, 1924. She was delivered by Jimmy Carter’s mother, a nurse, at her family’s home. A few days later, Jimmy Carter met her as a preschooler. She supported him in his campaigns for governor of Georgia and president of the US. She used her role as First Lady to promote mental health awareness.