Jimmy Carter isn’t awake every day but ‘experiencing the world as best he can,’ grandson says

‘There is no other place in the world that he would be at peace other than Plains,’ his grandson said

Kelly Rissman
Tuesday 11 June 2024 22:09 BST
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Former president Jimmy Carter holds up his Nobel Peace Prize December 10, 2002 in Oslo, Norway. His granson said he is no longer awake every day while in hospice care.
Former president Jimmy Carter holds up his Nobel Peace Prize December 10, 2002 in Oslo, Norway. His granson said he is no longer awake every day while in hospice care. (Getty Images)

Former president Jimmy Carter has experienced “no change” since he entered hospice care in his hometown of Plains, Georgia 16 months ago, but he is no longer awake every day, his grandson said.

Carter, the longest-lived ex-president in US history, is “experiencing the world as best he can as he continues through this process” after losing his wife, Rosalynn Carter, in November 2023, his grandson Jason, 48, told Southern Living last week.

Jason is the eldest of the former first couple’s 22 grandchildren.

“After 77 years of marriage… I just think none of us really understand what it’s like for him right now,” Jason said. “We have to embrace that fact, that there’s things about the spirit that you just can’t understand.”

Former president Jimmy Carter holds up his Nobel Peace Prize December 10, 2002 in Oslo, Norway. His granson said he is no longer awake every day while in hospice care.
Former president Jimmy Carter holds up his Nobel Peace Prize December 10, 2002 in Oslo, Norway. His granson said he is no longer awake every day while in hospice care. (Getty Images)

Jason recalled telling his grandfather that he struggles what to tell other when they ask about the president’s condition. “Pawpaw, you know, when people ask me how you’re doing I say, ‘honestly I don’t know.’” In response, he remembered Carter smiling before saying, “I don’t know, myself.”

Jason told the magazine that while it initially seemed like he would only have a few days left with his grandfather after he went into hospice care in February 2023 “God had other plans.”

Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter embraces his wife Rosalynn after receiving the final news of his victory in the national general election, November 2, 1976. His son has talked about how the former president has handled Rosalynn’s 2023 death
Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter embraces his wife Rosalynn after receiving the final news of his victory in the national general election, November 2, 1976. His son has talked about how the former president has handled Rosalynn’s 2023 death (Getty Images)

While the average length of stay in hospice care was 97 days, the median was 18 days, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization data from 2020.

At 99, Carter is back to his roots in Plains, Georgia, where he remains in hospice. It’s “the place that has given him the greatest support and it is the only place where he would go through this part of his life,” the grandson said. “That’s his home in every way, and he really cherished that time and that support.”

Jason added, “There is no other place in the world that he would be at peace other than Plains.”

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