- Former President Jimmy Carter is 98, making him the longest-living American president in history.
- The 39th president has been active in humanitarian work well into his 90s.
- On Saturday, February 18, 2023, the Carter Center announced that the former president entered hospice care.
Jimmy Carter is 98, making him the oldest living American president and the longest-living American president in history.
On Saturday, February 18, 2023, the Carter Center nonprofit announced that the former president will halt additional medical treatment and enter into hospice care at his home in Georgia.
“After a series of short hospital stays, former US President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention,” the statement said. “He has the full support of his family and his medical team. The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”
Carter has spoken out about being “absolutely and completely at ease with death,” and for years the 39th president of the United States showed no signs of slowing down while in his 90s.
Since leaving the White House in 1981 after a single term, Carter has, among many other things, won a Nobel Peace Prize, written more than a dozen books, secured the release of an American hostage in North Korea, observed 109 elections in 39 countries, and — with his own hammer and tools — helped build more than 4,000 homes in 14 countries for Habitat for Humanity.
A human-rights champion, philanthropist, traveler, teacher, and avid outdoorsman, Carter is not just actively involved in his many passions and hobbies, he also picked up new ones when he was 95.
Here are some incredible things Carter has been doing in his 90s.
In a 2013 interview with The Washington Post, Carter called himself “extremely lucky” and credited his active lifestyle and healthy diet to his wife Rosalynn.
“She is a strict dietitian and a very good cook,” said Carter. “She makes all our family meals.”
He went on to explain that while he can no longer run, he finds other ways to stay active: “I was an avid runner until I was 80 and my knees gave out,” Carter said. “I have two new knees, and those have worked well. Now I swim regularly at home and when I travel. I’m active around the house, and with painting and woodworking.”
A 2018 Washington Post interview noted that the couple walks every day, “often down Church Street, the main drag through Plains, Georgia, where they have been walking since the 1920s.”
The couple also said they enjoyed riding around on their matching Trikke machines — a type of three-wheeled scooter the former president says “gives you a workout all the way from your ankles up to your shoulders” — for up to two and a half miles a day.
Carter took up painting in the 1980s and has since produced over a hundred works, many of them capturing the people and landscapes of his beloved hometown of Plains, Georgia.
Painting is a relaxing hobby for the former president, but it is also a philanthropic one.
The Carter Center organizes fundraising events and auctions where the former president’s paintings and handcrafted furniture are sold, with all proceeds benefiting the foundation.
In June of 2017, his oil painting “Monarchs and Milkweed” was sold to an unidentified bidder for $525,000. The year before, Carter’s painting of crab apple blossoms brought in $750,000 during a record-setting auction.
Making wine is a Carter family tradition that the former president dabbles in. He explained in a 2005 interview with Wine Spectator that it’s one he hopes to pass on to his family.
“I generally get my children and grandchildren to come down to Plains, usually in August, and we go out into the local vineyards and pick around 50 gallons of grapes,” said Carter. “I’ve got an ancient wine press — probably about 250 years old — that someone gave to me, and I’ve made the rest of my equipment myself.”
Carter is a lifelong outdoorsman who in his best-selling book “An Hour Before Daylight”‘ wrote how in his youth he was “obsessed with hunting and fishing,” according to Georgia Outdoor News, and how he had a fishing pole and a bb gun “in my hands as early as I can remember.”
His habits did not change when he took office in 1977 (he spent nearly all of his 79 vacation days hunting and fishing) nor have they changed much since. He was inducted into the Georgia Hunting and Fishing Hall of Fame in 2016 and has been hunting with the Jordan family of Realtree camouflage.
In fact, in May 2019, the former president was getting ready to go on a turkey hunt when he fell and broke his hip in his home in Plains.
Carter underwent hip replacement surgery and was released three days later, his mind still preoccupied with turkey hunting. Although he had to skip another trip in order to recuperate and undergo physical therapy, the former president already made plans to hunt next season.
When asked about the injury, President Carter said “his main concern is that turkey season ends this week, and he has not reached his limit,” according to the statement from the Carter Center. “He hopes the State of Georgia will allow him to roll over the unused limit to next year.”
A prolific author, Carter has written 32 books about his career and life, women’s rights, peace in the Middle East, his mother, his faith, his paintings, woodworking, aging, the Revolutionary War, hunting, and fishing.
He wrote a self-help book with his wife Rosalynn called “Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life” and a children’s book with his daughter Amy called “The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer.” He’s written a book of poetry and a book of meditations.
The former politician won a best spoken word Grammy Award in 2018 for his audiobook “Faith: A Journey for All,” making him a three-time Grammy winner and a nine-time nominee.
According to a Washington Post interview published in August 2018, Carter “writes his books in a converted garage in his house,” which is described as “a two-bedroom rancher assessed at $167,000, less than the value of the armored Secret Service vehicles parked outside.”
The former president founded the eponymous Carter Center in partnership with Emory University in 1982.
Based in Atlanta, the nonprofit, nonpartisan human rights organization continues to resolve conflicts, promote democracy through fair elections, and prevent disease around the world.
(In 2002, Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Carter Center and, specifically, his work in mediating peace between Israel and Egypt in 1978.)
Even though they’ve spent 35 years building and renovating homes for Habitat for Humanity, Jimmy and Rosalynn still take one week a year to volunteer for the nonprofit.
In 2018, tools in hand, the pair worked on houses for low-income people in Indiana. They also knocked down a bedroom wall themselves not too long ago; “By that time, we had worked with Habitat so much that it was just second nature,” said Rosalynn.
“We do it all,” Carter explained in a 2014 interview with People magazine. “Except we generally don’t get on the roof. We did for a while…but they had a shooting in Miami when we were down there building houses and the Secret Service asked us not to do it anymore.”
It’s impossible to list all of Carter’s philanthropic deeds, in addition to those already listed, his Carter Center works in disease eradication, clean water initiatives, and mental health foundations.
As of age 95, the former politician was teaching Sunday School every other Sunday morning at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.
Carter’s schedule is available on the church’s website, which warns visitors about arriving several hours early to reserve a seat (though most line up the night before) and notes that there is a “short time at the beginning of the lesson” during which he and Rosalynn pose for pictures.
In 2014, the pair went fly-fishing in Russia, which they especially enjoyed because “the Secret Service agents stay out of the way,” according to People.
In the People magazine interview from that same year, Jimmy recalled how he and Rosalynn took up bird-watching in 1988 after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and how they took up downhill skiing in their late 50s and early 60s.
Over 40 years ago, Jimmy and Rosalynn started reading two pages of the Bible to one another every night before bed, though recently switched to a Spanish bible —”just to practice our Spanish.”