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Jerry Ellingsen found himself alone at the Denver airport with his dog, and no bags. He was very confused about why he was there.

How he got there will make your heart sick.

Ellingsen couldn’t remember where he lived. So the 80-year-old man started drifting aimlessly through the airport, unsure about what to do. Police soon stopped him and began to question him.

But he didn’t know the answers to their questions.

Ellingsen drew a blank when asked where he had come from, who his family members were, who was traveling to see, and even where he was currently. The poor man couldn’t remember basic details about his own life.

Turns out, Ellingsen used to live in southwest Florida with his brother and nephew. However, they passed him on to his daughter, Pamela, to live with her.

But she didn’t want him around.

His own daughter was the one who had put him on the one-way flight to Denver. With no bags.

Her intent was to send him to his estranged wife’s house in Denver. Pamela had sent her a text that read, “My dad and Corky [the dog] will arrive on a flight in Denver tomorrow afternoon.” Apparently, Pamela wanted to “get rid of him” because she was “done with him.”

Once the police got enough info, they attempted to call both Pamela and Ellingsen’s estranged wife.

Both of them refused to take him in.

So the police took Ellingsen to a nearby hospital as a last resort. See, hospitals are legally obligated to take in people like Ellingsen when they have no one able (or willing) to take care of them.

While it’s fortunate there is a solution like this (rather than leaving Ellingsen and his dog to roam the streets, homeless), it’s disheartening that it’s happening as frequently as it is.

Ellingsen is merely one among hundreds of elderly people who are placed in situations like this every year.

“At the end of the day, this is our loved ones that we are talking about,” said Doug Muir, who oversees behavior health at Porter Adventist Hospital. “So, as a society and community, we need to demand better outcomes.”

Learn more about this issue by watching the video below.

This story originally appeared at Goodfullness.

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