The family of former first lady Rosalynn Carter revealed on Tuesday that she had been diagnosed with dementia and has long been an advocate for mental health services.
The family stated in a statement published by The Carter Center that “she continues to live happily at home with her husband.”
Former President Jimmy Carter entered hospice care at the Carters’ Plains, Georgia, home less than four months ago after several in-and-outpatient hospital stays.
He is the oldest president, living to the age of 98. From 1977 to 1981, the couple was in the White House. To end conflicts worldwide, advance freedom and democracy, and enhance health, they founded The Carter Center in Atlanta in 1982.
But the family pointed out that Rosalynn, now 95, had already started working to reduce the stigma associated with mental health disorders before the center even opened its doors.
The Carter family shared today that former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia. I have long admired Rosalynn’s work in mental health and caregiving. She started @rcicaregiving to help break the stigma of the mental load that impacts caregivers. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/YbWVrojri3
— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) May 30, 2023
They stated that she advocated for improved access to care and reduced stigma regarding mental health issues “first in the Georgia Governor’s Mansion, then in the White House, and later at The Carter Center.”
She discussed the isolation, trauma, and pain that caregivers frequently experience in her 1994 book Helping Yourself Help Others: A Book for Caregivers. She hoped to offer relief by sharing recommendations for best practices from national surveys.
As a former first lady, she wrote, “I think one of the most important missions I can fulfill is to focus attention on you — the family caregiver.”
This book aims to uplift you, sympathize with you, and support your unique needs. Of course, I hope this book will assist you in giving better care, but I also hope it will help you lead a simpler and more enjoyable life.
Sigh. The Carter Center just announced that former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia, saying in a statement that she "continues to live happily at home with her husband." Let's take a moment and keep both Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in our thoughts & send them our best. pic.twitter.com/9Zll2DpzHb
— Victor Shi (@Victorshi2020) May 30, 2023
The Carters have been married for over 50 years; they first connected when he was 3, and she was just a day old. The 7th of July, 2022, marked their 76th wedding anniversary. Four children, 12 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren are all born to them collectively.