Pamela Roth sent her father to Denver because she didn’t want to have anything to do with his violent episodes and Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease destroys a person’s life completely. The general health condition of the patient diagnosed with this disease worsens over time. Close family members struggle, too.
Patients need to be understood and taken care of. Sadly, that’s not the case of Jerry Ellingsen. Jerry got lost in the sea of people at Denver’s airport. That’s not the only problem. He didn’t know why and how he got there.
The poor man traveled from Fort Meyers, Florida, accompanied by a small dog. A United Airlines supervisor noticed Jerry and his pup walking near the ticket counter, all confused and sad, so he called the police.
Police officers checked on Jerry to see if he was fine. They were shocked! Jerry was wandering alone in the middle of the big airport. He had nowhere to go.
“He was very confused about general details of his life to include where he was at, where he was coming from, who he was coming to visit and his family members’ names,” read a Denver police officer’s report.
The police checked his information to see who checked Jerry into the flight. When they contacted his daughter, Pamela Roth, the situation got even worse. Pamela said she had put her dad on the flight because she was “done with her father.” No, she didn’t want to pick him up again.
A further investigation showed that Pamela planned to send her father to Denver so he could live with his wife Jackie Ellingsen of Highlands Ranch. Pamela contacted Jackie 24 hours before the flight to tell her that he is coming to Denver. The wife didn’t even want to hear about it.
Jackie received a short message from Pamela. It said, “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.”
Jackie had “no use for him.” She told the police that Jerry was a “man that wants to kill” her. “I don’t want to live with him,” Jackie said.
To make things even worse, Jackie agreed to take the dog. She didn’t want Jerry any near her.
Jerry had violent episodes and his daughter did her best to remove him from her life. The police took Jerry to the University of Colorado Hospital. Jerry’s sister lives in Michigan, and she said that a private company in Colorado is taking care of her brother.
Believe it or not, Pamela was working for a company that specializes in senior home care. Oh, the irony!
“Under the circumstance and what’s her line of work with the elderly, she should be punished,” noted Judy Ellingsen, Jerry’s sister-in-law. “I’m sorry. Nobody does that to anybody.”
“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,” said Kari McConnell, Jerry’s niece.
A recent survey conducted by 9Wants to Know showed that in one day in September, “113 at-risk adults were stuck in the system, beyond medical necessity.” About 30% of all patients were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The results were obtained from 19 hospitals, and the Colorado Hospital Association was of great help during the process.
Most adults arrive at hospitals because they don’t have enough money or their caregivers have burned out.
A day at the hospital costs up to $2,500 and consumers and taxpayers bear the brunt of the hospital costs.
Natalee Mejia is a nurse who works for Denver Health in their special wing called the Oasis Unit. She is devastated to see all the people wandering around asking questions about their identity. “It is heartbreaking and I think the ones that are the most heartbreaking are the ones who don’t know who they are or where they came from.”
Doug Muir oversees behavior health at Porter Adventist Hospital. He is well aware of the expanding problem, addressing the real problem between parents and their children. “I think the thoughtfulness is that this isn’t somebody else’s problem,” he said.
“It’s all of our problems. And as we age we need to better prepare, and we need to make sure our parents are prepared to address this possible challenge. At the end of the day, this is our loved ones that we are talking about. So, as a society and community, we need to demand better outcomes.”
Unfortunately, many adults end up in the streets or hospitals just because there’s no one to take care of them. They don’t have enough money to cover the expenses and that makes the whole problem even worse.