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My twin brother developed WKS six months ago and came to live with our family. I am trying to connect with others so that my brother can develop some friendships in Seattle. He is sweet and kind. He just has no short term memory left and he is lonely.
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My mom was a fun and happy drunk, so I do not have any resignating issues left over from that.
We have not made it far enough to resort to a memory care center, but we have visitied a couple. We just don't feel like mom has progressed enough to be there yet, so now we are looking into home health care with someone that will just hang out with her daily from like 9-4. We want someone there to make sure she takes all her medicine, eats, and doesn't wander off.
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Hello everyone who responded with such helpful information! My mother is caring for her sister who is about 8 years younger than she is and my aunt lives in a facility. My aunt is young compared to other residents in the facility and I wondered about potential resources for my aunt to provide her with companionship. I also wonder, because of the addiction element of W/K given the link to alcoholism, if anyone had any success with a therapeutic relationship of any kind with a helping professional (social worker, psychologist)?
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I imagine this must be very hard. My father was an alcoholic, and naturally I would be angry at him a lot because his behavior was so terrible when he was drunk. Now your person is truly unable to help his behavior, but you still get angry. It's not easy to WANT to care for them.

I know W/K is different from other dementias, but I think the stresses and strains have a lot in common. Please come back to get good general caregiving advice and excellent emotional support from us here.

I googled, and found these pages.
korsakoff-syndrome
dailystrength
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/wernicke_korsakoff/wernicke-korsakoff.htm

As they say at AA and AlAnon meetings, "Keep coming back!"
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It is not really a matter of "very difficult to help an alcoholic unless they want to help themselves first" because the victim no long has the cognitive skills to decide to drink or not.

They may commit to not drinking, but they won't remember that commitment in an hour.
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Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome is usually seen in people who are severe alcoholics. It is very difficult to help an alcoholic unless they want to help themselves first. Thus most people never get treated and eventually die or brain damage over time. Go to Al-anon and seek help as pamstegma mentioned and possibly speak to your state's Adult Protective Services if you feel they are endangering themselves by failing to seek treatment.
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My mother has Wernicke Korsakoff.
How can I help?
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What type of help are you seeking? Do you need help from a caregiver? Do you need to get medical attention and, thiamine shots? Are you having memory problems or gait related concerns? Is your liver failing? Do you need to go to rehab and get into a drug & alcohol program? If you quit drinking you will have some improvements, but you really have to not drink ever again. I am not sure how you define help?
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i dont know what that is but ive gotten hate mail from AC moderators for less offensive language ..
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Get the patient some B1 (thiamine) and get yourself to an Al-Anon meeting for support dealing with this.
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