December 3, 1981

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the more than 4,000 delegates and observers who traveled from across the country and around the world to participate in the 1981 White House Conference on Aging.

Above all, this Conference has been a forum for the open exchange of ideas. For the past 3 days, an impressive cross section of older Americans has grappled with the many critical problems which affect the aging. Their goal has not necessarily been to reach unanimous agreement on every issue, but rather to share diverse views and arrive at recommendations for the common good.

The challenge before us is to develop policies for older Americans which are constructive, comprehensive, and compassionate. I know that all White House Conference delegates have taken this responsibility seriously. However, their work does not stop with the adjournment of the final plenary session of the 1981 Conference. They will continue their constructive analysis upon return to their communities by completing a unique system of post-Conference reports to be submitted to Secretary Schweiker within 30 days of adjournment. This period of analysis will provide delegates an opportunity for an in-depth, detailed study of the individual Conference reports prior to the submission of thoughtful commentary and specific views.

I salute all the Conference delegates and observers for their unselfish contributions and for making the 1981 Conference a productive, memorable event. I look forward to receiving the final Conference report.