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How’s Jimmy Carter’s health? Grandson says he's 'coming to the end'

In response to people asking after his health the former president told Jason Carter, his grandson, "Well, I don't know myself."
/ Source: TODAY

Jimmy Carter's grandson Jason Carter recently gave an update on the 99-year-old 39th president's health.

On May 14, at an annual mental health forum in honor of Rosalynn Carter at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Jason Carter said the former president "is coming to an end" but "he's still there," according to NBC News.

Jason Carter, who's also chair of the board of trustees for the Carter Center said, “my grandfather is doing OK. He has been in hospice, as you know, for some almost a year and a half now."

He also discussed his grandfather's faith during this time. “And he really is, I think, coming to the end that, that — as I’ve said before, there’s a part of this faith journey that is so important to him. And there’s a part of that faith journey that you only can live at the very end, and I think he has been there in that space,” Jason Carter said.

The former president has been in hospice at his home in Plains, Georgia, since Feb. 2023. His wife, Rosalynn Carter, entered hospice care a few days before her death on Nov. 19, 2023. She also was diagnosed with dementia earlier this year.

On Nov. 28, 2023, Jimmy Carter attended Rosalynn Carter's funeral and many were moved to see the 99-year-old leave hospice care to honor the life of his late wife.

When Jimmy Carter arrived at the ceremony, he was photographed in a wheelchair with a blanket covering his legs. On it was a stitched image of the couple with the words "The Carters."

Former US President Jimmy Carter arrives for a tribute service for former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter, at Glenn Memorial Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 28, 2023. Carter died on November 19, aged 96, just two days after joining her husband in hospice care at their house in Plains.
Former President Jimmy Carter arrives for a tribute service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter, at Glenn Memorial Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 28, 2023. Carter died on Nov. 19, aged 96, just two days after joining her husband in hospice care at their house in Plains.Andrew Caballero Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images

In a tender moment, one of the Carters' sons, James Earl “Chip” Carter III, 73,?was photographed kissing his ailing father on the head. Jimmy Carter's family was concerned about him traveling over 150 miles to attend the services, the New York Times reported.

James "Chip" Carter kisses the head of his father, former US President Jimmy Carter, during a tribute service for former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter, at Glenn Memorial Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 28, 2023. Carter died on November 19, aged 96, just two days after joining her husband in hospice care at their house in Plains.
James "Chip" Carter kisses the head of his father, former President Jimmy Carter, during a tribute service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter, at Glenn Memorial Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 28, 2023. Carter died on Nov. 19, aged 96, just two days after joining her husband in hospice care at their house. Andrew Caballero Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images

Jimmy Carter hasn't been seen much since entering hospice care.

His last public appearance took place about week prior to his 99th birthday. He and Rosalynn Carter both attended the Plains Peanut Festival. The Carter Center?reposted a video of the former president and first lady riding in a black SUV through the annual festival set in his hometown.

"Beautiful day for President & Mrs. Carter to enjoy a ride through the Plains Peanut Festival! And just a week before he turns 99," the center wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The former peanut farmer is the first president to live to 95 or older and the only one to see the 40th anniversary of his inauguration. In recent years especially, his health has made headlines, and his family has shared updates about his time in hospice care. Here's what to know about Jimmy Carter's health history.

Jimmy Carter health update

Jimmy Carter today is living at home in hospice. He used to spend his days with his wife, Rosalynn Carter, who was diagnosed with dementia months before her death.

The couple's grandson Jason Carter, chairperson of the Carter Center's Board of Trustees, spoke in September about his grandparents' time together "coming to the end."

“He’s been in hospice now for several months, but they are happy,” he told USA Today at the time. “They are together. They are at home. They’re in love, and I don’t think anyone gets more than that. I mean, it’s a perfect situation for this time in their lives.”

Jimmy Carter faces "really significant physical challenges," and he spends his time watching baseball and seeing family members, Jason Carter added.

Josh Carter, another of the former president's 11 surviving grandchildren, told People in August that his grandfather is in “the final chapter” of his life, but "he's still fully Jimmy Carter.”

Although the former president is tired, Josh Carter said "he fully understands (how many well wishes he’s received) and has felt the love."

Cincinnati Bengals v Atlanta Falcons
Former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, in 2018.Scott Cunningham / Getty Images

Josh Carter added that there's always someone at his grandparents' home, usually one of their four kids: Amy Carter, 56, John William "Jack" Carter, 76, James Earl "Chip" Carter III, 73, and Donnel Jeffrey "Jeff" Carter, 71. Recently, visitors to the home have only been caregivers and family, Josh Carter said.

He also said at the time his grandmother was "still able to form new memories" during her final months.

In Feb. 2023, Jimmy Carter announced through his foundation, the Carter Center, that he'd be stopping medical intervention and only receiving hospice care. The news came after he'd survived a series of hospital stays.

Over the past several years, Jimmy Carter has survived cancer and multiple falls, among other illnesses.

In 2015, Jimmy Carter was diagnosed with and treated for metastatic melanoma.

In Aug. 2015, Jimmy Carter underwent surgery to remove a small mass from his liver. At the time, the Carter Center called the procedure "elective" and said he'd make a full recovery.

Soon after, it was revealed that the mass on Jimmy Carter's liver was metastatic melanoma, and later on in Aug. 2015, it was announced that Jimmy Carter's melanoma had spread to his brain, and he was preparing to undergo radiation treatment.

But by Dec. 2015, he seemed to be cancer free. An MRI scan on Jimmy Carter's brain at the time did not show "any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones," according to a Carter Center statement. Afterward, he continued to receive immunotherapy treatments.

Jimmy Carter has a family history with cancer. His father, brother and both of his sisters died of pancreatic cancer. His mother was also diagnosed with the disease, NBC News reported.

A few years later, during a 2019 church service, Jimmy Carter reflected on his cancer scare and the possibility he was going to die. He said he was “absolutely and completely at ease with death.”

“I assumed, naturally, that I was going to die very quickly,” he said. “I obviously prayed about it. I didn’t ask God to let me live, but I asked God to give me a proper attitude toward death, and I found that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death.”

In 2019, Jimmy Carter had a series of falls and needed surgery.

In May 2019, Jimmy Carter fell at his Georgia home and broke his hip. Shortly afterward, he underwent surgery.

The injury occurred when he was getting ready to leave for a turkey hunting trip. The Carter Center shared a statement with NBC News at the time, proving that he was in good spirits.

“President Carter said his main concern is that turkey season ends this week, and he has not reached his limit,” the statement read. “He hopes the State of Georgia will allow him to rollover the unused limit to next year.”

In October 2019, Jimmy Carter fell again and needed 14 stitches in his forehead. Despite the injury and a black eye, he still traveled to Nashville to speak at a Habitat for Humanity event.

"I fell down and hit my forehead on a sharp edge and had to go to the hospital," he told the audience. "But I had a No. 1 one priority, and that was to come to Nashville and build houses."That same month, Jimmy Carter suffered a fractured pelvis from another fall at home. The Carter Center said in a statement at the time: “He has been admitted to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center for observation and treatment of a minor pelvic fracture. He is in good spirits and is looking forward to recovering at home.”

In November 2019, Jimmy Carter spent two weeks in the hospital in recovering from a procedure to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding from several falls. Following the surgery, the Carter Center revealed that there were "no complications."

In October 2022, Jimmy Carter turned 98 and was still "with it."

As Jimmy Carter prepared to celebrate his 98th birthday in October 2022, his grandson Jason Carter shared some thoughts about the former president's life.

“He is looking at his 98th birthday with faith in God’s plan for him,” he told the Associated Press. “That’s just a beautiful blessing for all of us to know, personally, that he is at peace and happy with where he has been and where he’s going.”

Jason Carter described his grandfather as still being “100% with it” but acknowledged that “daily life things are a lot harder now.”

In February 2023, Jimmy Carter entered hospice care.

In February 2023, the Carter Center revealed that Jimmy Carter would soon commence in-home hospice care.

“After a series of short hospital stays, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention,” the statement read. “He has the full support of his family and his medical team. The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”


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