Monday, February 20, 2023 – The oldest living former US president ever, Jimmy Carter aged 98, has chosen to spend his final days at home in Plains, Georgia, in hospice care after a series of brief hospital stays, the Carter Center announced Saturday February 18.
Carter has overcome serious health problems, including in 2015 when he was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain.
After treatment, doctors said he defied the odds, and Carter announced later that year that he was cancer-free.
The announcement from the Atlanta-based Carter Center did not specify whether his cancer had returned or whether another health condition prompted his decision that he was ready for hospice rather than continuing medical care.
Carter “has the full support of his family and his medical team,” the center’s statement said of the decision made by the onetime peanut farmer and engineer who rose to become the United States’ 39th president for one term from 1977 to 1981.
Jason Carter, a grandson, wrote on Twitter late Saturday afternoon: “I saw both of my grandparents yesterday. They are at peace and — as always — their home is full of love.” He thanked well-wishers “for all your kind words.”
Carter’s health has been in gradual decline in recent months as he now uses a wheelchair to get around, while his wife, Rosalynn, 95, uses a walker.
In recent weeks, Carter and his wife have gone for car rides around Gerogia driven by their Secret Service detail.
Hospice is a form of care for people near the end of life and largely is intended to make patients comfortable and provide support to them and their families once they have chosen to suspend treatment. Hospice typically accepts patients if they are expected to live no more than six months, but some people survive significantly longer.
The announcement by the Carter Center, a nonprofit focused on conflict resolution, democracy and preventing disease, stated that the family “asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”
The announcement Saturday came four months after Carter celebrated his 98th birthday, including with a parade hosted by his hometown. The weekend before, he and Rosalynn were driven around in a red convertible by a Secret Service agent during Plains’ annual Peanut Festival. Their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren walked behind the car.
Since leaving the White House, Carter and his wife of 76 years have led unassuming lives in a house they built in 1961 in the hometown where they met as children.