Former US President Jimmy Carter begins hospice care at home

At 98 years old, Jimmy Carter has lived longer after leaving the White House than any former president in US history.

Former United States President Jimmy Carter has decided to receive hospice care and “spend his remaining time at home with his family”, according to a statement by the Carter Center.

At 98 years old, Carter is the longest-lived US president.

He began hospice care at home instead of “additional medical intervention” after a series of short hospital stays, the Carter Center said on Saturday.

“He has the full support of his family and his medical team,” the centre said, adding that the Carter family “asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers”.

A Democrat who served as president from January 1977 to January 1981, Carter has suffered from several health issues in recent years, including melanoma that spread to his liver and brain, although he had responded well to treatment he received.

He was a little-known governor from the state of Georgia when he began his bid for the presidency ahead of the 1976 election.

The former peanut farmer went on to defeat then-President Gerald R Ford, capitalising as a Washington outsider in the wake of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal that drove Richard Nixon from office in 1974.

Carter served a single, tumultuous term in office marred by economic woes at home and the Iran hostage crisis that ended just after he left office. But he also played a central role in brokering the Camp David accords that led to the landmark Egypt-Israeli peace treaty.

Carter was defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980, a landslide loss that ultimately paved the way for his decades of global advocacy for democracy, public health and human rights via the Carter Center.

The former president and his wife, Rosalynn, 95, opened the centre in 1982.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 in recognition of his “untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development”.

Jason Carter, the couple’s grandson who now chairs the Carter Center’s governing board, said on Saturday that he “saw both of my grandparents yesterday. They are at peace and — as always — their home is full of love”.

Carter, who has lived most of his life in Plains, Georgia, travelled extensively into his 80s and early 90s, including annual trips to build homes with Habitat for Humanity and frequent trips abroad as part of the Carter Center’s election monitoring and its effort to eradicate the Guinea worm parasite in developing countries.

In 2015, upon his cancer diagnosis as a nonagenarian, he expressed satisfaction with his long life.

“I’m perfectly at ease with whatever comes,” he said. “I’ve had an exciting, adventurous and gratifying existence.”

Carter and his wife Rosalynn, whom he married in 1946, have four children.

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