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                       Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Athens, Greece)

For Immediate Release November 19, 1999




During this season when we give thanks for the many blessings in our lives, let us take time to acknowledge the loving support of the millions of family caregivers across our country who provide for the needs of parents, spouses, and other loved ones who are no longer able to care for themselves. These remarkable individuals give their utmost to ensure that their relatives can remain in the comforting, familiar surroundings of their homes and communities.

Family caregivers embody the finest of American values. With compassion and a deep sense of responsibility, they devote their time and energy and often their own financial resources to care for family members in need. In many ways, family caregivers are mainstays in the provision of long-term care in our country. Today, more than 7 million Americans are informal caregivers who provide unpaid help to older persons, and 95 percent of older Americans with limitations on their daily living activities depend on family members for some portion of their care. That number will continue to grow during the next three decades as our elderly population doubles, with the aging of 76 million baby boomers. Recognizing the important role family caregivers play in the lives of so many, we must continue to strongly support efforts to provide them with the assistance, information, and encouragement they need to fulfill their vital responsibilities to older family members, and to those who are chronically ill or disabled.

Millions of lives have been enriched by the hard work and generosity of family caregivers; many older, ill, or disabled Americans enjoy a greater measure of comfort, dignity, and independence thanks to the loving care of family members. During National Family Caregivers Week, let us honor the many devoted men and women whose efforts do so much to strengthen the bonds of family and community in our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 21 through November 27, 1999, as National Family Caregivers Week. I call upon all Americans to pay tribute to and acknowledge the contributions of caregivers to the quality of our national life.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fourth.


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