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Jimmy Carter’s spirit ‘as strong as ever’ after year in hospice, grandson says

Feb 18, 2024, 2:15 PM

Former President Jimmy Carter’s spirit is “as strong as ever” one year into hospice care, his...

Former President Jimmy Carter’s spirit is “as strong as ever” one year into hospice care, his grandson said. (Scott Cunningham, Getty Images)

(Scott Cunningham, Getty Images)

(CNN) — Former President Jimmy Carter’s spirit is “as strong as ever” one year into hospice care, his grandson said.

“After a year in hospice, on a daily basis we have no expectations for his body, but we know that his spirit is as strong as ever,” Jason Carter said in a video that aired on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

Now 99, Jimmy Carter is the oldest living US president in history. He has survived metastatic brain cancer, liver cancer, and a number of health scares, including brain surgery after a fall in 2019. He entered hospice care in February 2023 after a series of hospital stays.

In hospice, an interdisciplinary team of professionals who specialize in end-of life-care address the whole person. They work to help manage pain and the person’s physical needs, as well as their mental and spiritual distress. Hospice also helps the family and coordinates care. There is no time limit on how long a person can receive hospice care. Many patients choose to receive care at home or in other familiar environments.

One year later

“One year after entering hospice care, President Carter continues to be at home with his family. The Carter Family is grateful for the many expressions of love they have received and the continued respect for their privacy during this time,” the Carter family said in a statement Sunday.

“The family is pleased that his decision last year to enter hospice care has sparked so many family discussions across the country on an important subject.”

Carter’s wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, died in November at the age of 96. As first lady, she worked tirelessly on behalf of mental health reform and professionalized the role of the president’s spouse.

The former president is widely revered for his championing of human rights. His brokering of the Camp David Accords in 1978 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin remains central to his legacy.

A peanut farmer and US Navy lieutenant before going into politics, Carter, a Democrat, served one term as governor of Georgia before serving as president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

In his post-presidency years, Carter founded The Carter Center along with his wife in hopes of advancing world peace and health. The couple traveled to hot spots around the world, including Cuba, Sudan and North Korea, monitoring elections and working to eradicate Guinea worm disease and other neglected tropical diseases. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

CNN’s Carma Hassan, Erica Henry, Michelle Shen, Keith Allen and Julia Manchester contributed to this story.

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Jimmy Carter’s spirit ‘as strong as ever’ after year in hospice, grandson says