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Monday, June 17, 2024

Jimmy Carter, 99, no longer awake every day -Grandson

Former President Jimmy Carter’s life isn’t how it once was, according to his grandson Jason Carter; but the former president’s loved ones haven’t stopped spending time with their 99-year-old patriarch.

In an exclusive conversation with Southern Living, Jason opened up about the Carter family’s experience caring for Jimmy 16 months into hospice care, and why the one time commander-in-chief chose Plains, Georgia, to spend his final days.

According to Jason, there has “really been no change” in Jimmy’s health in recent months. But his baseline is much different in comparison to the active ex-president who the public saw building homes and teaching Sunday school well into his 90s.

Since his once-inseparable wife, Rosalynn Carter, died in November at the age of 96, a piece of Jimmy has been missing.

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

Jason, 48, told the outlet that Jimmy is no longer awake every day at this point in his hospice journey. And when the 39th president’s four children make their frequent visits, they can’t predict the state their father will be in.

“[He’s] experiencing the world as best he can as he continues through this process,” Jason said.

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In February 2023, Jimmy chose to begin hospice care in the same Plains home he and Rosalynn built in 1961.

He has stayed largely out of public view since terminating medical intervention, with the exception of attending Rosalynn’s memorial events. Plains residents showed up in force to send off their favorite first lady in November, and at the Baptist church where Jimmy taught Sunday school until 2020, he had the chance to reconnect with the community after an extended period away.

“[Plains] is 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,” Jason, who lives in Atlanta, said of his grandfather. “That’s his home in every way, and he really cherished that time and that support.”

Rosalynn was buried near the couple’s Plains residence after her funeral service — and when Jimmy dies, he’ll be buried alongside her.

“I think the fact that he and my grandmother both came from that small town — it’s a 600 person village, really — and it’s not near any interstate and it is truly out in the country and it is a fundamental part of who he is and who he has been for his whole life,” Jason said. “There is no other place in the world that he would be at peace other than Plains.”

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The Carters deeded their property to the National Park Service, which has plans to turn their humble home into a museum.

“It is such an American story… to go to Plains and see the house that my grandparents built and lived in for all their time and came home to after being president,” he says.

“It is a really incredible story to go from that little town to the White House and back again.”

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