Former US first lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia, family say

She will remain at home with her husband Jimmy Carter, who continues to receive hospice care

The Carters celebrate former president Jimmy Carter's 90th birthday in 2014. AP
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Former US first lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia, her family announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Mrs Carter, 95, will remain at home with her husband, former president Jimmy Carter, who has been receiving hospice care since February.

“She continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains [Georgia] and visits with loved ones,” the family said in a statement through The Carter Centre, the global humanitarian organisation the couple founded in 1982 after leaving the White House.

Married nearly 77 years, the Carters are the longest-married first couple in US history.

The family said in the statement that Mrs Carter has spent her public life campaigning for those affected by mental illness, noting that one in 10 elderly people in the US have dementia.

She was honoured by the World Health Organisation in 2021 for her work in mental health awareness.

“We hope sharing our family's news will increase important conversations at kitchen tables and in doctor's offices around the country,” the statement said.

The family wrote that Mrs Carter also advocated those in caregiving relationships with loved ones, and she “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,” the statement continued.

“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.”

The Carters have only been receiving visits from family and close friends in recent months, after the former president's announcement that he would forgo further medical intervention after a series of short hospital stays.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: May 31, 2023, 3:10 AM