An update on Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter’s health

(WJW) — Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn’s grandson said the family was coping with the couple’s declining health. Jimmy Carter entered hospice care in February, and a few months later Rosalyn was diagnosed with dementia.

“My grandparents were always entertainers,” Josh Carter told People magazine. “But now we’re in a position where we have to entertain. No, it’s just a different time.”

He said the family spends a lot of time at the Carters’ home in Plains, Georgia, accompanying them. In recent months, the couple’s four children, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, have been on the property almost constantly. The couple, who seem to defy age and requirements, have been visited by close friends and relatives, and even attended Plains’ Fourth of July fireworks display.

Jimmy is 98 and Rosalyn is 96, and they have spent most of their lives together.

Son says the former president remains sharp despite his wife’s failing memory.

“I will probably lose my grandfather before my grandmother,” Josh told People magazine. “He’s in hospice care, she’s not. It’s just math.”

In a statement released in May about Rosalyn’s diagnosis, the family noted that the former First Lady was a longtime mental health advocate, and that publicizing the illness would reduce the stigma surrounding it. He said he hopes that

“We hope that sharing family news will lead to more important conversations at dining tables and in clinics across the country,” the family said.

Rosalyn turned 96 this week. After losing their 1980 re-election, the family planned a quiet celebration, according to the Carter Center, a human rights group they founded in Atlanta. She ate cupcakes and peanut butter ice cream and nodded to the couple’s experience as peanut farmers in Georgia, which became part of their political branding.

She also released butterflies in the Carter family’s garden. Her love of butterflies dates back to her childhood. Her relatives and friends also held butterfly release activities around Plains, including a small public garden next to the house where Eleanor Rosalyn Smith was born on August 18, 1927.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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