Former President Jimmy Carter celebrated his 99th birthday by making his first public appearance since he entered hospice care seven months ago.
Carter, 98, was met with raucous applause as he made his way to the Plains Peanut Festival in Georgia on Saturday, and was seen being driven down the flag-lined street in a black SUV alongside former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
The longest living president in US history entered hospice care in February, announcing that he ‘decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care’ instead of being hospitalized.
Three months later, it was revealed that Rosalynn, 96, has dementia.
While many feared for the former peanut farmer and philanthropist as he entered the last chapter of his life, his sighting at the festival Saturday was warmly received.
Carter was seen alongside former First Lady Rosalynn Carter as he celebrated his 99th birthday at the Plains Peanut Festival in Georgia on Saturday
The 98-year-old had not been seen in public since he announced that he was entering hospice care in February
Carter pictured with his great-grandson’s scout troop in November 2022, in one of the most recent photographs of him
Footage of Carter being driven through the festival was posted on X – formerly Twitter – which quickly garnered warm responses from supporters of the aging president.
Carter’s decision to enter hospice care came after a series of brief hospital stays, but said he decided to avoid any further hospitalization and spend the remainder of his life in the same modest, one-story house in Plains, Georgia, where they lived when he was first elected to the state Senate in 1962.
His 76-year marriage to Rosalynn also stands as the longest between any president and first lady in US history.
Last month, Carter’s grandson Josh told People that he is at peace in hospice care, saying that the once ‘entertainers’ now live a quiet and calm life.
While concerns remain for the former president as he enters the last chapter of his life, Josh Carter added that ‘there’s always somebody at the house’ to keep his grandparents company, more often than not, one of their kids.
He said although Jimmy and Rosalynn aren’t as active as they once were they’re still aware of what is going on around them and ‘fully understand’ the well wishes and love they’ve received.
As for Rosalynn, Josh explained that she is aware of her dementia diagnosis but ‘still knows who we are, for the most part, that we are family,’ he explained.
‘My grandmother is still able to form new memories,’ he added.
Carter with his wife Rosalynn and their daughter Amy at the Baptist church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia in 1976. Last year, Carter said he could not have managed being president at 80, appearing to take a dig at Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s age ahead of the election
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill visited Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter at their Plains, Georgia, home in May, 2021 – where the Carters have decided to spend the last chapter of their lives
When he announced he was entering hospice care, Carter said he ‘decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family’ instead of additional medical intervention
In a separate interview in March, Josh admitted that Carter’s relatives feared they would lose him, but were surprised at his recovery.
‘We did think that when he went into hospice it was very close to the end. Now, I’m just going to tell you, he’s going to be 99 in October,’ he said.
The hospice care announcement prompted ongoing tributes and media attention on his 1977-81 presidency and the global humanitarian work the couple has done since co-founding The Carter Center in 1982.
‘That’s been one of the blessings of the last couple of months,’ Jason Carter said after speaking Tuesday at an event honoring his grandfather. ‘He is certainly getting to see the outpouring and it’s been gratifying to him for sure.’
The former president also gets updates on The Carter Center’s Guinea worm eradication program, launched in the mid-1980s when millions of people suffered from the parasite spread by unclean drinking water.
Last year, there were fewer than two dozen cases worldwide.
And in less serious moments, the former president also continues to enjoy peanut butter ice cream, his preferred flavor, in keeping with his political brand as a peanut farmer, his grandson said.
Andrew Young, who served as Carter’s U.N. Ambassador, told the Associated Press that he too visited the Carters ‘a few weeks back’ and was ‘very pleased we could laugh and joke about old times.’
President Donald Trump, Melania Trump, President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and President Jimmy Carter with Rosalynn Carter stand during a state funeral service for former President George H.W. Bush in December 2018
Then-Georgia Governor Carter, right, is seen on a visit to New Mexico in 1974
Carter, a Navy veteran and Nobel Peace Prize winner, became the 39th U.S. president when he defeated former President Gerald R. Ford in 1976 with the country still reeling after the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon.
He served a single term that was blighted by an oil crisis that forced Americans to wait in line for gas, and was defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Since then he has committed himself to philanthropy and living a humble life with his wife of 76 years Rosalynn, his four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In August 2015, Carter had a small cancerous mass removed from his liver. The following year, Carter announced that he needed no further treatment, as an experimental drug had eliminated any sign of cancer.
That same year, he was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma that was detected in his liver and spread to his brain.
About six months after the diagnosis, Carter announced he no longer needed cancer treatment due in part to a groundbreaking medication that trains the immune system to fight cancer tumors.
He was hospitalized two years later for dehydration while building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Canada.
Despite his series of health scares, the president remained active in public life up until recent times.