Former President Jimmy Carter in Good Spirits 3 Months Into Hospice Care
Former President Jimmy Carter continues to be in good spirits and to enjoy his favorite peanut butter ice cream at home, three months after he began hospice care.
The 98-year-old Carter entered end-of-life care in February after announcing he would no longer receive medical intervention for health issues, the Associated Press reported.
As tributes about his work during his presidency and as a global humanitarian have poured in those three months, Carter has been aware of them while spending time with family.
“That's been one of the blessings of the last couple of months,” grandson Jason Carter said after speaking Tuesday at an event honoring his grandfather. “He is certainly getting to see the outpouring and it's been gratifying to him for sure.”
Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn, 95, live in the same modest, one-story house in Plains, Ga., where they have lived since he was elected to the state Senate in 1962, the AP reported.
“They're just meeting with family right now, but they're doing it in the best possible way: the two of them together at home,” Jason Carter said.
“They've been together 70-plus years. They also know that they're not in charge,” the younger Carter said. “Their faith is really grounding in this moment. In that way, it's as good as it can be.”
Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has lived longer than any other U.S. president. Together with Rosalynn, he founded the Carter Center in 1982.
He continues to receive updates on the center's Guinea worm eradication program. The center began the program in response to millions of people suffering infections from the parasite in the mid-1980s because of unclean drinking water, the AP reported. Last year, fewer than two dozen people were infected worldwide.
Admirers celebrated Carter at the Tuesday event, including former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, who said he visited the Carters “a few weeks back” and was “very pleased we could laugh and joke about old times,” the AP reported.
Young noted that Carter was a white politician from south Georgia during the Jim Crow segregation era, but showed his values were different.
As governor and president, Carter believed “that the world can come to Georgia and show everybody how to live together,” Young said.
Now, Georgia “looks like the whole world,” said Young, 91.
But Jason Carter told the crowd not to think of the Carters as global celebrities, the AP reported.
“They're just like all of y'all's grandparents -- I mean, to the extent y'all's grandparents are rednecks from south Georgia,” he said to laughter. “If you go down there even today, next to their sink they have a little rack where they dry ziplock bags.”
Jason Carter also offered hope that his grandpa may continue to live for a while.
“We did think that when he went into hospice it was very close to the end,” he told attendees. “Now, I'm just going to tell you, he's going to be 99 in October.”
Learn more about the Carter Center.
SOURCE: Associated Press