Rosalynn Carter, 96, Enters Hospice Care Nearly 6 Months After Dementia Diagnosis

The former first lady and former President Jimmy Carter, 99, are both in hospice care at home "spending time with each other and family"

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, 96, entered hospice care at her Plains, Georgia, home on Friday, her grandson Jason Carter announced.

The news comes nearly six months after her family revealed that she had been diagnosed with dementia, and nine months after her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, terminated his own medical intervention so that he could return home to be with loved ones.

"[Rosalynn] and President Carter are spending time with each other and their family," reads Friday's health update from Jason, who chairs the Carter Center. "The Carter family continues to ask for privacy and remains grateful for the outpouring of love and support."

Related: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's Grandson Offers Update on Their Health: ‘We’re in the Final Chapter’ (Exclusive)

<p>Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty</p> Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter walk through Plains, Georgia, in August 2018

Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter walk through Plains, Georgia, in August 2018

In late May, Rosalynn's family announced in a lengthy statement that the former first lady had been diagnosed with dementia, drawing ties between her legacy on the subject of caregiving and her own health journey.

"Mrs. Carter has been the nation’s leading mental health advocate for much of her life," the May statement read. "First in the Georgia Governor’s Mansion, then in the White House, and later at The Carter Center, she urged improved access to care and decreased stigma about issues surrounding mental health."

The statement continued: "One in 10 older Americans have dementia, a condition that affects overall mental health. We recognize, as she did more than half a century ago, that stigma is often a barrier that keeps individuals and their families from seeking and getting much-needed support. We hope sharing our family's news will increase important conversations at kitchen tables and in doctor’s offices around the country."

Related: Rosalynn Carter’s Tireless Advocacy on Topics of Mental Health and Caregiving Comes Full Circle

Jimmy Carter Library Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter in front of their Plains, Georgia, home in 1965
Jimmy Carter Library Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter in front of their Plains, Georgia, home in 1965

Another of Rosalynn's grandsons, Josh Carter, offered an update on her health in August, telling PEOPLE that she understands her diagnosis and even signed off on the May press release.

"She still knows who we are, for the most part — that we are family," he said at the time, noting that a good night's sleep improves her symptoms. "My grandmother is still able to form new memories."

Related: Rosalynn Carter Has Never Known Life Without Jimmy — She Met Her Future Husband as a Newborn

He added that even amid his grandparents' health challenges, the couple continues to express love toward one another. "I think the beautiful thing is that they are still together," he said. "And they're not just under the same roof. They are still holding hands ... it's just amazing."

On Feb. 18, before Rosalynn had been diagnosed with dementia, the Carter family announced that President Carter — the longest-living president of the United States — had entered hospice care for unspecified health issues.

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