Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter has been diagnosed with dementia, her family said Tuesday.
Carter, 95, “continued to live happily in her home with her husband, former President Jimmy Carter,” in rural Plains, Georgia.
The 39th president, 98, has been receiving hospice care at the couple’s home since February.
Their grandchildren said last week Jimmy Carter received an update on his eponymous Humanitarian Foundation, welcoming visitors and eating lots of peanut butter ice cream.
Jason Carter said of Jimmy and Rosalyn, who married in the summer of 1946, “They’re just seeing their family now, but they’re doing it in the best way they can. They’re staying home together.” I’m there,’ he said.
“They have been together for over 70 years.”
The Carter Center said in a press release that throughout her life, Rosalyn “has advocated for improved access to care and reduced stigma around mental health issues” that dementia undermines.
“We hope that sharing the family’s news will lead to more important conversations on kitchen tables and clinics across the country,” the family said in a statement.
“Mrs. Carter often pointed out that there are only four types of people in this world: those who are current caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need care,” he added. . “The universality of caregiving to our family is clear and we are experiencing the joys and challenges of this journey. I ask for the understanding of everyone in the country who is playing.”
Jimmy is the oldest living president in U.S. history, and Rosalyn is the second oldest First Lady after Elizabeth Truman, who died in 1982 at the age of 97.
The Carters are also the first and longest married couple in American history.
The Carter family has four children, Jack, James III, Donnell and Amy, and 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.