Transcript Amnesia means breakdown of memory functions. Most breakdowns of memory functions are called "Anterograde Amnesia" which means that the client can remember a lot of things from their past but have difficulty learning new things. One person I saw a while back would come to me and say "Hello, who are you, why am I here, can I go back to work?" Then we would say "You have memory problems, don't worry about going back to work, it's all been taken care of with your wife and the social worker." After about a minute he would go to the next person in the hall and ask him the same question: "Hello, who are you, why am I here, can I go back to work?" This could be very trying for everybody, having to repeat this over and over again. The memory is so bad that the client can't remember asking the question before. You might say, "What's the use, they can't learn anything new, so why try anything with them?" Actually, there can be major surprises. If you give the client a test, in which you try to have them do a motor task, they get better, and better, and better. Even though they think they have never seen the task or you - if you ask them to do this task the next day, and the day after, they will get better at it.
If you have to teach something to someone who has Alzheimer's disease, it's better if you can tap into all the background and knowledge they have from the past. For example, when the client has to go to special day care, to assist a family, they will have to learn where to go to the washroom. We can teach them how to do it by making sure that we eliminate all possibility of errors. Normally, when we learn it's through trial and error. Using a technique called Errorless Learning, you bring the client into the washroom once, twice, three times. So you can teach not by telling them where it is, but by actually physically showing them and having them do it many times. This way, they can actually learn where the washroom is on their own.