Former President George H.W. Bush is leading the Super Bowl coin toss today with his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush. Just how old is George Bush now? And how is his health, since he was so recently hospitalized? He’s doing better, but he still uses a wheelchair because of a chronic disease similar to Parkinson’s.
Here’s what you need to know.
George H.W. Bush is 92 years old; he was born on June 12, 1924. He’s the oldest living president, just a few months older than Jimmy Carter. His wife, Barbara, is 91. He has historically been in good health for his age, In 2014, he went skydiving for his 90th birthday. But recently, he suffered a health scare. He and Barbara were hospitalized at the same time. George Bush was hospitalized for pneumonia. He was admitted on January 14 for shortness of breath and had a procedure to address breathing issues associated with the pneumonia.
He made a quick recovery and now he and his wife are overseeing the coin toss.
But his health isn’t perfect. He’s had to use a motorized scooter or wheelchair since 2012 because he suffers from Vascular Parkinsonism. Vascular Parkinsonism is an “atypical Parkinsonism” that has Parkinson’s-like symptoms, but it doesn’t share the same cause as Parkinson’s. Vascular Parkinsonism is caused by a series of small strokes in the basal ganglia area of the brain and can lead to slow movements, tremors, difficulty walking, and stiffness. Because the cause is different, it doesn’t respond to typical Parkinson’s medications. Physical therapy and finding ways to reduce the risk of more strokes can help.
Bush has been very excited about the coin toss. He posted a GIF on Twitter about his preparations on Feb. 1: