Former first lady Rosalynn Carter died at age 96 on November 19 at her home in Plains, Georgia, according to The Carter Center. As the Associated Press noted, she had been living with dementia for some time. In addition, her overall health had been declining significantly in recent months.
On November 17, the Carter Center announced she had entered hospice care at her home. The development came nine months after former President Jimmy Carter entered hospice himself.
In announcing that Rosalynn was receiving hospice care, the center noted, “She and President Carter are spending time with each other and their family.” The statement continued, “The Carter family continues to ask for privacy and remains grateful for the outpouring of love and support.”
The former president shared a statement in the wake of his wife’s death. “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” the statement shared by the Carter Center read. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
Rosalynn Carter’s Dementia Diagnosis Was Revealed in May
On May 30, the Carter Center released a statement on Rosalynn’s health. “Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia,” the statement noted. “She continues to live happily at home with her husband, enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones,” it continued.
As the Mayo Clinic details, dementia symptoms include significant cognitive and psychological changes. Memory loss and trouble planning or performing difficult tasks are common, and people with dementia often experience agitation, anxiety, and depression.
Many types of dementia worsen over time. Those living with dementia often go on to experience trouble eating and getting proper nutrition, as well as difficulties in taking care of themselves.
As dementia progresses, patients frequently experience pneumonia, and infections become common. Death for those with dementia frequently occurs because of an infection.
Rosalynn Carter Died Peacefully, Surrounded by Family
The Columbia University Department of Neurology shares that people experiencing dementia can live for years with the condition. The syndrome cannot be cured, and frequently is broken down into early, middle, and late stages.
In the late stages of dementia, the syndrome often inhibits critical functions of one’s body. This often includes the ability to breathe as well as slowing the patient’s heart rate. Urinary tract infections, as well as respiratory infections, become common in the final stages of dementia.
The Carter Center noted Rosalynn was surrounded by her loved ones when she died peacefully at 2:20 p.m. at her home. She is survived by her husband, who is 99 years old, as well as four children, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
One of Rosalynn’s sons, Chip Carter, shared a statement after his mother’s death. “Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary First Lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right.” He noted, “Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans.”
“She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today,” Chip’s statement continued.