Former first lady Rosalynn Carter has dementia, the Carter family announced Tuesday.
In a statement released by the Carter Center, the family added that the 95-year-old wife of former President Jimmy Carter is “enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones.”
In February, the Carter family announced that Jimmy Carter, 98, had decided against any further medical treatment and entered home hospice care.
The Carters have been at home together in the tiny rural town of Plains, Georgia. They have lived in the same ranch house since 1961, absent their time in the Georgia governor’s mansion and the White House.
Below is a timeline of Mrs. Carter through the decades.
Aug. 18, 1927: Eleanor Rosalynn Smith is born in Plains, the first of four children born to Allethea Murray Smith and Wilburn Edgar Smith. After her father dies when she was 13, Rosalynn helps her mother raise her younger siblings, and eventually graduates as the valedictorian of her high school class.
1945: Rosalynn, 17 and in her freshman year at Georgia Southwestern College (today known as Georgia Southwestern State University), goes on a date with her friend’s older brother, Jimmy Carter.
July 7, 1946: Ensign Jimmy Carter, a new graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, marries Rosalynn Smith.
July 3, 1947: The first of three Carter sons, John William “Jack” Carter, is born in Portsmouth, Va. He is to be followed by James Earl Carter III, known as Chip, born on April 12, 1950, in Honolulu, and Donnel Jeffrey, born on Aug. 18, 1952, in New London, Conn.
1953: Following the death of his father, Jimmy Carter moves his family back to Plains so that he and Rosalynn can run the family peanut farm.
1962: Without first consulting Rosalynn, Jimmy Carter decides to run for the Georgia Senate. He wins.
Oct. 19, 1967: Daughter Amy is born in Plains.
1970: Jimmy Carter is elected governor of Georgia.
1971: As first lady of Georgia, Rosalynn Carter focuses on overhauling the state’s mental health system, overseeing reforms that directly provide state assistance to the needy. She serves as honorary chairman of the Georgia Special Olympics from 1971 to 1975.
Dec. 12, 1974: Jimmy Carter announces his intention to run for president of the United States. For much of the next two years, Rosalynn crisscrosses the nation on behalf of her husband’s campaign.
Jan. 20, 1977: After Carter is sworn in as president, the Carters walk part of the way to the White House in below-freezing weather as a tribute to Thomas Jefferson, the last president to walk the route.
February 17, 1977: Rosalynn Carter is named Active Honorary Chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health. The commission later releases a report that helps lead to the overhauling of mental health care legislation.
1979: Rosalynn and daughter Amy host the first National Reading Is Fun Day at the White House. Special guests include Carol Burnett, Arthur Ashe, John Chancellor, Maurice Sendak and numerous schoolchildren.
November 1980: Jimmy Carter loses a second run for the White House.
July 1982: The Carters found the Carter Center, dedicated to working for peace and improving the quality of life for people around the world.
August 2, 1991: Rosalynn announces the formation of “Every Child By Two,” a nationwide campaign for early childhood immunization.
September 4, 1991: The Carter Center announces the formation of a Mental Health Task Force under the direction of Mrs. Carter.
September 2-8, 1992: The Carters visit Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Togo in Africa to promote an effort to eradicate Guinea worm disease.
June 12-18, 1994: The Carters meet with North and South Korean leaders to discuss nuclear disarmament. A few weeks later, North Korean leader Kim Il Sung dies, aborting the planned reunification talks.
December 17-21, 1994: The Carters travel to what had been Yugoslavia to facilitate talks among warring Bosnian Muslims and Serbs. The Carter mission produces a four-month cease-fire and the resumption of peace talks.
August 9, 1999: President Clinton presents the Carters with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
July 2002: The Carter Center celebrates its 20th anniversary.
August 2002: At a speech before the American Bar Association, Rosalynn calls for a national moratorium on executions, and condemns the death penalty as a tragic violation of human rights.
October 2002: Rosalynn Carter is inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
October 2002: When it is announced that Jimmy Carter had won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, he says that the prize isn’t really his alone. “I’m especially grateful to …” Carter stopped, the emotion welling. “… Rosalynn, who has been a partner in everything I’ve done.”
March 2004: An exhibit on former first lady Rosalynn Carter is unveiled at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains.
April 2005: Rosalynn breaks her wrist while hiking with Jimmy in the woods on their property in Plains. Her foot had become entangled in vines and she fell.
July 2006: Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with a quiet day in Plains.
December 2006: Rosalynn is ordained a deacon by Maranatha Baptist Church of Plains.
July 2007: Carter testifies before Congress on legislation that would require equal health insurance coverage of mental and physical illnesses.
August 2007: Rosalynn celebrates her 80th birthday by touring Spain with her family.
August 2007: The Carters attend the Toronto International Film Festival where Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme’s “Man From Plains” documentary is shown.
May 2008: The Carters, in their 25th year of building Habitat for Humanity houses, help volunteers at construction sites in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The homes are being built along the hurricane-devastated coast for families displaced by Katrina.
August 22, 2012: Rosalynn cuts the ribbon on the Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex at Georgia Southwestern State University, her alma mater.
October 2014: The Carters cancel a Habitat for Humanity build in Nepal after political unrest, and visit a building project in Memphis instead.
August 12, 2015: Jimmy Carter announces at an Atlanta press conference, with Rosalynn sitting squarely in front of his podium, that he has cancer.
July 2016: Rosalynn endorses Proposition 62, which would abolish the death penalty in California, releasing a joint statement with her husband in support of the measure.
February 18, 2018: Rosalynn has surgery to remove scar tissue from her small intestine. The scar tissue was the result of a previous surgery.
April 17, 2018: Rosalynn becomes the oldest living former first lady upon the death of Barbara Bush.
Feb. 18, 2023: The Carter family announces that Jimmy has entered home hospice care in Plains.
May 30: 2023: The Carter family announces that Rosalynn has dementia, adding that she is “enjoying spring in Plains and visits with loved ones.”
--Sharon Gaus, Christopher Quinn