Answer by Dana Turner
To my knowledge, every county and state maintains a Council on Aging office. Placing an anonymous call to this agency may prompt someone to inquire into your customer's welfare. A similar call to the Public Guardian's Office (usually located within the District Attorney's Office) may also yield some positive results. Another resource is your local law enforcement agency, who can dispatch an officer to "check the welfare" of any person.
But be careful about honoring privacy issues.
Answer by Ken Golliher
As Dana indicates, aside from privacy concerns, this is largely an issue of state law. I would note that, due to the prevalence of caller ID in government agencies, an "anonymous" call should not be made from the bank.
Many states have given banks some guidance in this area, so look at your statutes. In my home state, banks are allowed to contact state agencies regarding the elderly. In Florida, they are required to. However, in both cases I believe the trigger is "financial abuse." That's not what you are talking about here, but you could certainly say the potential for financial abuse exists in your situation.
Talking to the daughter is probably the best approach, but results might be better assured if, as Dana suggests, you get someone from law enforcement to investigate and let them do it. As a former trust officer, I know how hard it is for some children to acknowledge their parents' infirmities. As the child is likely to be "blamed" for any curtailment of the parent's freedom, dealing with those infirmities is even more difficult.
First published on BankersOnline.com 12/2/02