When I watched the Alzheimer's documentary last week on PBS, one of the hospital staff interviewed mentioned a problem of "granny dumping." Granny dumping is the practice of abandoning an elderly person with dementia at a hospital, leaving them to be cared for by charity. The individual's dementia is far enough along that they are no longer able to identify themselves or their care givers.
The practice is not frequent but happens in many places around the world. Japan is apparently seeing an increase of it recently.
On Monday, while reading through the BBC's World news, I came across another reference to granny dumping. In this case, a US family (mother and son) flew the husband/father to the UK and left him there alone while they returned to the States.
Caring for an individual with dementia is emotionally and financially draining. I understand the desire to run away and remove yourself from the obligation of caring for someone. Heck, my own kids cause me to feel that sometimes and I, at least, have the hope that one day they will be independent humans successfully being part of society. However, I don't think I'll ever understand what it takes to actually walk away, leaving a vulnerable person alone.