• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Jimmy Carter holding strong a year into hospice care, family says

Jimmy Carter holding strong a year into hospice care, family says

A year after starting hospice treatment, former President Jimmy Carter is holding strong, especially in spirit, his grandson said in an update Sunday.

At 99, the country’s oldest living ex-president has survived metastasized melanoma, brain surgery and the death of his wife of 77 years. Born in 1924 in a home with no running water or electricity, the 39th U.S. president “grew up plowing fields behind a mule,” his grandson, Jason Carter, noted Sunday.

“He lived to see both his life and this world transformed in so many ways,” the scion said in a video aired on “CBS Sunday Morning.” “And through all of those changing times, he truly has clung to his unchanging principles: Faith; respect for human dignity; equality; human rights; and the commandment that above all else you should love your neighbor as yourself.”

At one point, diagnosed with melanoma tumors in his brain and liver, “we quoted the old gospel song that says he’s going to ‘stay on the battlefield,’ ” the president’s grandson said. “And he has.”

Even now, at the tail end of his life, the man who served in the nation’s highest office from 1977 to 1981 is bringing light to bear on a service that is not well understood in the U.S.

Three months in, he was enjoying ice cream and family visits.

“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 Sunday in a statement obtained by CNN. “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.”

The fate of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who died of dementia in November after just a few days of hospice care, along with her husband’s longer tenure, demonstrated the range of services and time periods that hospice can entail.

“It’s been massive to have the Carters be so public,” said Angela Novas, chief medical officer for the Washington, D.C.-based Hospice Foundation of America, noting that it has led people to seek out more information on the topic.

As for the former president himself, his family said they take nothing for granted.

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

With News Wire Services

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