The number of older people forced to seek help with mortgage arrears is soaring, the debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service has warned.
It reported a 44 per cent increase in the number of over-60s contacting the charity for help with home loan repayments since 2009. The average increase across all age groups over the same period was just 3 per cent.
The average amount of mortgage arrears among the over-60s has also rocketed – up 23 per cent from £3,556 in 2009 to £4,375 in 2011. The average older person in arrears is now six and a half months behind with their mortgage payments.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's charity director-general, said: "Many people in later life are struggling to cope with the tough economic climate. This alarming spike in the number of older people who are seeking help paying their mortgage shows just how bad things are."
Delroy Corinaldi, the director of external affairs at CCCS, said the trend was particularly worrying given the low interest rates we've had for the past few years.
"With many older people taking higher levels of debt with them into retirement, this could be the start of a long-term trend towards far higher levels of mortgage difficulty in later life," he warned.
He said family members can help. "If a parent or grandparent is struggling, help them seek free advice from a debt charity."