Did your readers know that there are around 800,000 people living with dementia in England and nearly 550,000 people caring for them? The problem is that not enough carers have the opportunity to get away, even just for a few days. We ran a survey which found that a shocking four out of ten carers have not taken a single day off from caring in the past year, meaning that many find themselves in a caring role 24/7, 365 days a week. The effect of this stress is inevitable - 60% of carers said a lack of time away from caring led them to feelings of depression and hostility towards the loved ones they care for. This is a terrible situation to have to find oneself in, but one which in our experience is all too common. I work for an amazing national charity called Vitalise. We know that caring for a loved one with a disability without the occasional break can take a huge physical and emotional toll – which is why we’ve been providing much-needed respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers alike for over 50 years. The respite lifeline that Vitalise provides for people with disabilities and carers, including special weeks for couples living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, often makes the difference between coping and despair, between just existing – and really living. That’s why this Dementia Awareness Week Vitalise is backing the ‘Dementia Friends’ campaign – and we urge your readers to do the same. If you would like to find out more about Vitalise breaks, including our special Alzheimer’s Weeks, or ways to support us, then please call: 0303 303 0147 or visit: www.vitalise.org.uk.