Grandson on Carter in Hospice: He Knows He's 'Not in Charge'

Ex-president, 98, is in good spirits, relying on his faith, wife Rosalynn, per Jason Carter
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
Grandson: Jimmy Carter Is in Good Spirits, Eating Ice Cream
Andrew Young, former UN ambassador, center, attends a ceremony honoring former President Jimmy Carter and Jimmy Carter Boulevard on Tuesday in Norcross, Georgia.   (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)

Three months after entering end-of-life care at home, former President Jimmy Carter remains in good spirits as he visits with family, follows public discussion of his legacy, and receives updates on the Carter Center's humanitarian work around the world, his grandson says. He's even enjoying regular servings of peanut butter ice cream. "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 of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, now 98 and 95 years old, respectively. "They've been together 70-plus years. They also know that they're not in charge," the younger Carter said Tuesday in a brief interview with the AP. "Their faith is really grounding in this moment. In that way, it's as good as it can be."

The longest-lived US president, Jimmy Carter announced in February that after a series of brief hospital stays, he would forgo further medical intervention and spend the remainder of his life in the same modest, one-story house in Plains, Georgia, where they lived when he was first elected to the state Senate in 1962. No illness was disclosed. The hospice care announcement prompted ongoing tributes and media attention on his 1977-81 presidency and the global humanitarian work the couple has done since co-founding the Carter Center in 1982.

"That's been one of the blessings of the last couple of months," 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." Andrew Young, who served as Carter's UN ambassador, says that he, too, visited the Carters "a few weeks back" and was "very pleased we could laugh and joke about old times." Young and Jason Carter joined other friends and admirers Tuesday at a celebration of the former president along Jimmy Carter Boulevard in suburban Norcross, just northeast of Atlanta.

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When Jason Carter addressed his grandparents' admirers Tuesday, he argued against thinking about them like global celebrities. "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 Ziploc bags." Most remarkable, Jason Carter said, is the fact such a gathering occurred with his grandfather still living. "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."

(More Jimmy Carter stories.)

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