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Proclamation: National Family Caregivers Month, 2000 (11/6/00)

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                            November 6, 2000


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                              A PROCLAMATION

     All Americans owe a debt of gratitude to the family caregivers among
us -- the generous, compassionate individuals who daily face the challenge
of caring for loved ones who are frail, chronically ill, or living with
disabilities that restrict their independence.  These everyday heroes,
living quietly among us in families and communities across the country, are
the major source of long-term care in America.  By providing billions of
dollars' worth of caregiving services each year, they dramatically reduce
the demands on our Nation's health care system and make an extraordinary
contribution to the quality of life of their loved ones.

     Caregivers often pay an emotional and physical price as well as a
financial one.  Few enjoy any free time because they must juggle the
demands of home and work while meeting the special needs of the individuals
in their care.  Many do not have the support of other family members or
friends and consequently experience depression, a sense of isolation, and
the stress of knowing they must carry out their important duties alone.
Studies have indicated that such caregiver stress can have a physical
consequence, contributing to a higher mortality rate among elderly
caregivers who themselves have a history of chronic illness.

     But caregivers should not have to face their challenges alone, and my
Administration has worked hard to ensure that they will not have to do so.
I am pleased that the Congress has finally passed the Older Americans Act
Amendments of 2000, which will strengthen and improve the services
available to senior citizens in every State, from home-delivered meals to
transportation services to legal assistance.  This legislation
also includes authorization for our new National Family Caregiver Support
Program, which will provide quality respite care and
other support services to hundreds of thousands of families who are
struggling to care for loved ones.

     The Long-Term Care Security Act that I signed into law in September
authorizes the Office of Personnel Management to negotiate with private
insurers to offer more affordable, high-quality, long-term care insurance
policies to Federal employees, retirees, and their families.  This
initiative will help some 13 million Americans better prepare for the
future and ease the fear of having to deplete their life savings to care
for a loved one.

     We must also help families who need long-term care assistance right
now.  I continue to call on the Congress to provide a $3,000 tax credit for
the millions of Americans with long-term care needs and the families who
care for them.  Passage of a new, voluntary Medicare prescription drug
benefit would also go a long way toward easing the financial burden on
family caregivers.

     Caregiving touches us all, either within our own families or within
our communities.  As we observe National Family Caregivers Month, let us
thank the millions of devoted men and women across our Nation who enable
our loved ones who are frail, chronically ill, or living with disabilities
to live in dignity in the warmth and familiarity of home.

     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 2000 as National Family Caregivers Month.  I call
upon all Americans to acknowledge and honor the contributions of caregivers
to the quality of our national life.

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

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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