I’ve written about the best shows to watch on a plane. One that I’ve enjoyed since compiling that list is Animal Kingdom, the story of a dysfunctional family of criminals led by Janine “Smurf” Cody (Ellen Barkin).
They launder money from their heists through real estate, buying money orders with cash and depositing those as rent on apartment buildings. Many readers will know about the challenges liquidating money orders.
Several tenants pay below market rent, with the family reporting much higher rent in order to legitimize their hauls. The operation comes under scrutiny, and in season 3 episode 5 the family realizes that one of their tenants is a liability. She’s not going to be able to report the ‘correct’ amount she pays in rent if asked by the police because she suffers from some form of dementia.
So two members of the family brought the old woman and her cat to a bench — somewhere, nowhere near her home — and took her ID along with the cat’s collar. And they left her there.
A woman who works in senior home care put her 80 year old father on a flight to Denver. He has alzheimer’s. He landed not knowing who he was or where he was headed. His daughter was “done with” caring for him.
A United Airlines supervisor called police after finding Jerry confused and alone with only a small dog near an exit door outside the ticket counter.
…“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,” one Denver police officer noted in a report after he spoke with Jerry.
What do you do when you find yourself at a United gate in Denver?
Police were able to identify the woman who had checked him in for his flight. When they reached his daughter she told them to send him to a homeless shelter.
The day before she sent him to Denver she texted her father’s estranged wife, telling her to care for him. She refused, but did offer to care for the dog. He wound up in the hospital.
People used to have children as old age insurance, so they’d be cared for when they could no longer work. In wealthier societies children are more of a consumption good.
At the same time people live longer and one of the major challenges we face as a society is caring for people as they age. It’s the largest driver of health care costs, and we’re unwilling to confront this. Unstated in most debates over health care is that ‘cost control’ either means ‘paying caregivers less’ or ‘providing less care’ usually less end of life care.
We hope not to be burdens on our children. Many people would choose not to let themselves reach the point where they don’t know who they are and can’t function independently. But we try to extend lives, and the burdens on families and on society for costs, are significant.
So we wind up with people sent to the airport, where the best we can hope for is a compassionate United Airlines employee to see that they’re taken care of.