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Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia, family announces

Rosalynn Carter diagnosed with dementia
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter diagnosed with dementia 00:58

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia and continues to live at home with her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, their family announced in a statement issued by the Carter Center on Tuesday. 

The former first lady is 95, and the statement did not say when she was given the diagnosis. The former president has been receiving hospice care at the couple's longtime home in Georgia since February.

"The Carter family is sharing that former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia," the Carter Center said. "She continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones."

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter sit together during a reception to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary on July 10, 2022, in Plains, Georgia. John Bazemore / AP

The Carter Center emphasized the former first lady's advocacy for expanded mental health access and awareness, and expressed hope that news of the diagnosis will spur conversations among other Americans. 

"One in 10 older Americans have dementia, a condition that affects overall mental health," the center noted. "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."

The Carters have been married since 1946. They have four children and more than two dozen grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

The former president, 98, remains in good spirits months after he began end-of-life care at home, his grandson said last week. 

"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 of the Carters.

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