Jimmy Carter no longer awake every day, grandson says

Former President Carter is “experiencing the world as best he can,” while he is no longer awake every day in hospice care, his grandson revealed in an interview late last week.

Jason Carter, the oldest of the Carter grandchildren, spoke to Southern Living magazine about his grandfather’s condition as he approaches his 16th month in hospice care in Plains, Ga.

“After 77 years of marriage … I just think none of us really understand what it’s like for him right now,” Jason Carter said in the interview, published Thursday. “We have to embrace that fact, that there’s things about the spirit that you just can’t understand.”

Carter entered hospice care in February 2023, forgoing additional medical intervention to spend his remaining time at his Georgia home with his family. At 99 years old, he has lived longer than any other U.S. president.

About 10 months into his hospice care, his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, died. She had entered hospice care herself two days prior.

Jason Carter, 48, told Southern Living his grandfather is not awake every day and his condition varies day by day. Carter’s relatives continue to make frequent trips to see the former president, and Jason recalled a recent visit to Plains in which they watched an Atlanta Braves game and discussed The Carter Center and family.

“I told him, I said: ‘Pawpaw, you know, when people ask me how you’re doing I say, ‘Honestly, I don’t know,’” Jason Carter said. “And he kind of smiled, and he said, ‘I don’t know, myself.’”

“It was pretty sweet,” he added.

The Carter family did not expect a lengthy hospice stay, but “God had other plans,” Jason Carter said.

As Carter’s other relatives said last month, his grandson reiterated there has “really been no change” in the former president’s condition.

He reflected on his grandfather’s connection to his hometown of Plains and the role it has played over the past 16 months.

“[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 Carter said. “That’s his home in every way, and he really cherished that time and that support.”

“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,” he added. “There is no other place in the world that he would be at peace other than Plains.”

The home, which has been owned by the Carters since 1961, will be donated to the National Park Service when the former president dies, the grandson said.

“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 continued. “It really tells a remarkable story of what people can be brought forward by our politics. It is a really incredible story to go from that little town to the White House and back again.”

The Carter Center told The Hill on Tuesday it has no further comment on the former president’s health at this time.

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