Jimmy Carter Also Battling Neurodegenerative Disease
Last May, the Carter family announced that former First Lady Rosalynn Carter had been diagnosed with dementia. Unfortunately, that diagnoses claimed her life last month at the age of 96.
Carter was a vocal supporter of research into Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. She also was the nation’s leading mental health advocate much of her life. 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.
As the founder of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, Mrs. Carter often explained that there are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been caregivers; those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers. The universality of caregiving is clear in our family, and we are experiencing the joy and the challenges of this journey.
In addition to her work on mental health, Rosalynn Carter was a strong advocate for other causes, including women’s rights, education, and environmental protection. She was a true humanitarian who cared deeply about making the world a better place.
Jimmy Carter, 98, also is battling neurodegenerative disease. He has been in hospice care since February 2023. He is the oldest living former US president. He has been open about his diagnosis and has spoken out about the importance of early detection and treatment.
The Carters were the longest-married first couple in US history. They were married for 77 years. Their diagnoses have brought additional attention to the issue of neurodegenerative disease, which affects millions of people around the world. The family’s openness about their condition is helping to break down the stigma associated with brain disease, while encouraging people to seek help.
Several world leaders who have been diagnosed with dementia, including:
Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. He died in 2013 at the age of 95.
Ronald Reagan, the former president of the United States, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994. He died in 2004 at the age of 93.
Park Geun-hye, the former president of South Korea, was diagnosed with dementia in 2020. She is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence for corruption.
Kgalema Motlanthe, the former vice president of South Africa, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2022. He is currently 76 years old.
Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, served from 1979 to 1990. Her family announced in 2008 that she was suffering from neurodegenerative disease. She died in 2013 at the age of 87.
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Gary Chandler is a prion expert. He is the CEO of Crossbow Communications, author of several books and producer of documentaries about health and environmental issues around the world. Chandler is connecting the dots to the global surge in neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and other forms of prion disease. The scientific name for prion disease is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.