A credit counsellor in Sudbury says a recent study that shows seniors' debt levels are on the rise is a concern because some may have to go back to work.
The study, done by TD Bank, says older Canadians — especially those in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec — had the highest rates of debt accumulation last year.
"It's especially troubling for seniors as a result of the fact that they're on fixed incomes," said Linda Morel, executive director of Credit Counselling Sudbury.
Economists at TD took data from an Ipsos Reid financial survey of 12,000 households and found that younger and middle-aged Canadians seemed to be paying attention to the many warnings about piling on debt.
Average household debt in 2012 (among those who have debt)
Increase from 2011
18 to 24
25 to 44
45 to 64
65 and over
Source: TD Bank, Ipsos Reid
Older Canadians, on the other hand, increased their debt load by an average of 15 per cent from the previous year.
The extra debt, which amounted to an increase of more than $6,000, boosted the average debt load among the senior set to $47,549.
That may mean some seniors may have to look at going back to work, Morel said.
"They may or may not have the ability to repay the debt in the way that they were [able to when they were] younger and working."