It’s the time of year to ‘remember the reason for the season’, but for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, it may not be so easy.

Alzheimer’s Research UK has just unveiled a Christmas animation entitled ‘Santa Forgot’ to remind viewers nationwide the prevalence of dementia. The short film depicts Santa living with dementia and the magic of Christmas being lost without him. ‘Santa Forgot’ brings poignant awareness to dementia and Alzheimer’s, delivering the message that it does not discriminate and can affect those we deem most special in our lives.

The inspirational take on this Christmas story urges people to support the research campaign and fights misconceptions surrounding the condition.

Living longer puts you at risk

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease has risen to be a leading cause of death in England and Wales, surpassing heart disease. Alzheimer’s -an irreversible and progressive brain disorder- is a physical disease largely contributing to the onset of dementia, which claimed an estimated 61,000 lives last year, a majority of which were women. Age is often a trigger for Alzheimer’s with symptoms appearing in the mid-60’s of affected adults and notoriously only affecting the older generation- perhaps, the biggest mystery of the disease.

Changes in the brain related to aging research may one day provide the sought-after answers.

Alzheimer’s has three stages of progression –Mild, Moderate, and Severe- which exhibit the loss of cognitive and behavioural abilities caused by dementia. Damage to the brain through the aging process occurs in the form of atrophy, or shrinking, that can cause memory loss, confusion, and the inability to perform normal daily tasks, among other difficulties.

Brain imaging concludes that amyloid plaques, or abnormal tissue, and tangled, fibrous bundles are some of the main features of Alzheimer’s and diagnosing the disease.

Genetics show dementia is not an inevitable part of aging

The cause of Alzheimer’s, and often accompanying dementia, remain unknown. Research in genetics suggests that a mutation is the cause for early-onset Alzheimer’s.

However, a greater number of people are affected by a late-onset form of the disease in which the APOE e4 gene is said to increase development. This gene is responsible for the presence of amyloid plaques on the brain and is found on chromosome 21, putting people with Down syndrome at greater risk as they have an extra copy of this chromosome.

Watch Alzheimer's UK 'Santa Forgot' Christmas animation: