rosalynn carter
Kathy Hutchins/

The Carter Center recently announced that Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady of the United States, has dementia. The Center’s announcement reads, “The Carter family is sharing that former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia. She continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones.”

Additional comments about 95-year-old Carter weren’t immediately given, and the Center said it didn’t expect to comment further. The Center noted that sharing news of Carter’s diagnosis helps “increase important conversations at kitchen tables and in doctor’s offices around the country.”

Carter made mental health advocacy her platform as the first lady, forming a presidential commission during her time in the White House, a legacy that endures today. President Carter, 98, started hospice care in February after a series of short hospital stays. At a press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the Bidens have remained in touch with Carter’s team to ensure the family knows the president and first lady are in their thoughts. At an event in Norcross, Georgia, honoring the former president, President Carter’s former UN ambassador, Andrew Young, said the former president was in good spirits during a recent visit with him.

Jason Carter, the Carters’ grandson, said at the event, “They’re coming to an end. He’s going to be 99 in October, but right now, it’s sort of the perfect way for them to spend these last days together at home in Plains. They’re together, and they’ve been together for 70-plus years.” Rosalynn Carter traveled across the country and the world as first lady in support of breaking mental health stigmas.

President Carter wrote in “White House Diary,” an annotated account of his time in the White House published in 2010, “Since 1971, Rosalynn had been a champion of mental health issues, and her leadership in this cause continues even now.” Carter continued, “She mounted a worldwide crusade to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and helped persuade the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control to include mental health on their agendas.”

According to the CDC, dementia is a broad term for an impaired ability to think, remember, and make decisions. People with dementia might have attention, memory, judgment, communication, problem-solving, and visual perception past typical age-related vision changes. Although it’s not a normal part of aging, the National Institute on Aging says about one-third of people past 85 and older may have some type of dementia.

As Rosalynn Carter continues to battle with dementia, let’s say a prayer for their health:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Rosalynn Carter’s life and hard work. As she continues to battle health issues like dementia, please watch over her and ensure that she has the care she needs. We also pray for former President Jimmy Carter and his health. We know that You are the ultimate healer and provider. Please ensure the Carters have everything they need to be comfortable and healthy. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.

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