The Denver International Airport is a massive hub for airlines, making it a hectic place to navigate, even for the most self-assured travelers. So when airport employees discovered an 80-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease wandering the airport, completely lost, it broke their hearts.
His name was Jerry Ellingsen and he was walking alone with his small dog, unsure of who he was or why he was in Denver.
According to his documentation, he arrived on a flight from Fort Myers, Florida. Police attempted to contact his family, but neither his wife nor daughter would answer the phone, so they were forced to call an ambulance to take him to a nearby hospital.
The authorities were able to track down the United Airlines employee that checked Jerry into the flight and happened to talk with the woman that put him on the plane.
That woman was his own daughter, Pamela Roth of Fort Myers. She allegedly told the United employee she was “done with her father,” according to WCNC. That’s why she bought him a one-way ticket to Denver, Colorado.
Source: Dave Herholz / Flickr
Initially, when Jerry had nowhere to go, he was cared for by his brother and nephew in Southwest Florida. Unfortunately, his Alzheimer’s and aggression was too much for the family members to handle, so they asked if Jerry could live with his daughter instead.
But that didn’t last long. His daughter packed his suitcases, gathered up his Yorkie, and sent him to live with his estranged wife, Jackie Ellingsen.
However, his wife wasn’t interested in helping him out. “I have no use for him. I mean a man that wants to kill me, come on. I don’t want to live with him,” Jackie told Denver police detectives. She refused to pick him up, even though she did receive a text from Pamela that said in part, “If you need to drop my dad at a homeless shelter, it’s fine. I just want him to have a roof over his head. Please.”
Neither woman had the decency to make arrangements for this man with Alzheimer’s and his canine companion. Instead, they tossed him aside like garbage.
Thankfully, the local law required hospitals to keep admitted at-risk adults who have been abandoned, so at least Jerry had somewhere to stay.
Jerry’s niece commented on the story, in complete disbelief over what had happened to her uncle. “I cannot believe they did that. I’m horrified. I’m disappointed that somebody can even be that low to do that to their father,” Kari McConnell said via WCNC.
In Colorado hospitals alone, on a single day in September, data showed that over 100 at-risk adults were abandoned and stuck in the system, just like Jerry. It’s all too common for heartless people to toss aside family members that require medical care, especially ones with neurological diseases.
It’s an expensive to care for such an individual, so instead of finding help, many of these patients end up on the street, in homeless shelters, or biding their time in hospital units. Tragically, most of the people are unable to remember who they are or why they are in the position that they are.
A father and his best friend, both living beings that need cared for and protected, were completely disregarded and treated like trash. The family members that did this need to be held responsible.