Jimmy Carter’s health and home hospice care: The latest

Questions Monday as to how much the former president, a home hospice patient, can participate in ceremonies for his wife of 77 years.
Former President Jimmy Carter

Credit: David Goldman

Credit: David Goldman

Former President Jimmy Carter

More than a day after the death of former first lady Rosalynn Carter became public, it’s still unknown how much her husband of 77 years, former President Jimmy Carter, will be able to attend or participate in the events planned next week to mark her life.

A spokeswoman for the Carter Center told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday that they cannot comment on the question yet.

The events celebrating Rosalynn Carter’s life are scheduled to begin Monday, Nov. 27 with a Carter family motorcade to Americus, which is about a 15-minute drive from Plains. There, a hearse with her body will join the motorcade, and they will head past well-wishers toward three days of events.

Carter, now age 99, has been in hospice care at his home for the past nine months. It’s not clear how mobile he is these days, but the couple was photographed together riding through Plains in this September’s Peanut Festival parade. In what may have been their last public appearance together, a bystander captured a video of the Carters seated in the back seat of a Secret Service limousine. Jimmy Carter, wearing a baseball cap, was barely visible past Rosalynn Carter through the open window.

Following the news of Rosalynn’s death Sunday afternoon, the Carter Center said there were no updates on Jimmy Carter’s health.

Jimmy Carter has had a series of serious health issues over the recent years.

In 2019, he was hospitalized at Emory to relieve pressure on his brain following a series of falls. He also broke a hip that year, which sometimes leads to more serious deterioration in health for older people generally.

In August of 2015, he revealed he had melanoma, a skin cancer, that had spread to his liver and brain. At the time of the announcement, he said he felt “surprisingly at ease.”

Rosalynn Carter’s death came just two days after the notice that she too had entered home hospice care.

In hospice, the focus shifts from trying to cure an illness to providing comfort for the patient and support for the family.

Although the median hospice stay is 18 days, people can and do live for long periods of time after entering hospice care. The only health requirement is that at the time they enter hospice, caregivers do not expect the person to live beyond a certain time period, perhaps six months. If the person does live beyond that time period, the person can be re-evaluated and hospice status can be renewed.