Rosalynn Carter will celebrate her 96th birthday at home with her husband, the former President, on Friday Jimmy Carterand other family members, while the surrounding community of Plains, Georgia, honors the former first lady’s years of dedication to public health.
The latest milestone comes as Rosalynn Carter is coping with dementia and the former president, now 98, continues to receive hospice care.
Yet they remain together in the same small town where they were born and married and where Jimmy Carter’s victorious 1976 presidential campaign took place.
According to Rosalynn, there will be a quiet birthday party The Carter Centerthe human rights organization the couple founded in Atlanta after losing re-election in 1980.
She plans to eat cupcakes and peanut butter ice cream, referencing the couple’s experiences as peanut farmers in Georgia, which became part of their political branding.
She will also release butterflies in the Carters’ garden; Her love for butterflies dates back to her childhood. Extended families and friends are also planning several butterfly releases around Plains, including in the small public garden next to the home where Eleanor Rosalynn Smith was born on August 18, 1927.
The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers is sponsoring the screening of a new film entitled Unconditional, which focuses on the challenges people face as caregivers for the sick, aging and disabled loved ones. The event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Plains High School, is open to the public.
Ever since her husband was Governor of Georgia in the early 1970s, Rosalynn Carter has called for a more inclusive American health care system that considers mental health an integral part of public health and recognizes the importance of nurses to the country’s social and economic well-being.
“Your incredible ability is both to look at a problem from the need for policy change and to think of the person who lives next door or down the street who is struggling,” said Jennifer Olsen, who directs the Rosalynn Carter Institute.
Olsen noted that the former first lady has pushed several US governments to create an office at the Department of Health and Human Services dedicated solely to advocacy for nurses.
The office develops specific programs to support carers and analyzes all public policy – from tax regulations to labor rules and regulations – from the perspective of people caring for loved ones.
Her focus on nursing has gained renewed attention amid the Carters’ deteriorating health.
In February, the Carter Center announced that the 39th President would forgo further hospital treatment and would instead receive end-of-life care at home.
In May, the family also announced that the former first lady has dementia, but did not provide details on her condition.
In recent months, the couple’s four children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been present on the premises almost constantly.
Close friends and a few other family members also attended as the couple seemed to defy their age and circumstances, even attending the Plains Independence Day fireworks display in July.
Circumstances have brought one of Rosalynn’s favorite observations into sharper focus, Olsen said.
“There are only four types of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers,” she has said over the years.
Rosalynn Carter is the second oldest wife of a President in US history. Bess Truman died in 1982 at the age of 97, a year after the Carters left the White House.
Jimmy Carter is the longest living President.
As the longest-married first couple in history, the Carters celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary in July.