Rosalynn Carter, the wife of former President Jimmy Carter and a longtime advocate for expanded access to mental health care, has dementia, the Carter Center said on Tuesday.
The announcement came just over three months after the center said that Mr. Carter, who at 98 is the longest living president in American history, had decided to forgo further medical treatment and would enter hospice care at the couple’s home in Plains, Ga.
The center said on Tuesday that Mrs. Carter, 95, “continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones.”
“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,” the center said. “We hope sharing our family’s news will increase important conversations at kitchen tables and in doctor’s offices around the country.”
The Carter Center said that one in 10 older Americans have dementia, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as a general term for an impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.
“As the founder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, 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 center said. “The universality of caregiving is clear in our family, and we are experiencing the joy and the challenges of this journey. 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.”