The new face of aging - How will society and businesses adapt to the reality of an aging population?



    An in-depth study of our retirees provides a few signs to better
    understand and adapt to this phenomenon

    MONTREAL, Sept. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Retirees have changed and their
exploding numbers require that both society and businesses evolve. The data
revealed by four consecutive editions of the AXA Retirement Scope allow us to
draw the emerging portrait of a new generation of retirees, as well as uncover
a few directions to better adapt to the phenomenon of an aging population.

    Old: new definition yet traditional roles remain

    In the past, the end of active life meant the beginning of old age.
Today, it is the loss of autonomy or illness that heralds this beginning. Our
retirees can now expect to enjoy 21 years of retirement before turning old...
at 79! However, here as anywhere else in the world, a consensus remains: the
social role of retirees is to transfer knowledge and skills. A supporting role
in caring for the children also continues to be universally recognized. The
new demographic context offers an opportunity to better value these roles in
the future.
    "It is the whole context of old age that is being transformed," explains
Robert Landry, Executive Vice President, Life Insurance and Financial
Services, AXA Assurances. "This transformation is an opportunity for society
to fully recognize and actively seek and facilitate the contribution of these
'young retirees.' Businesses will also want to understand the new context in
order to adapt their products and services as well as their way of doing
business - this is the case at AXA," Mr. Landry added.

    Working longer? Yes but only by choice

    Canadian retirees are divided regarding delayed retirement age, although
those in favour have increased by 7% since 2004, to reach 42% in 2008.
Quebecers remain mostly unreceptive to the proposition (only 29% are in
favour). If we consider that 58% of active Canadians would like to pursue a
remunerated activity after retirement, the message is clear: working beyond
the retirement age is fine, but it should remain a personal, not a forced
decision. Interestingly, 92% of our retirees consider themselves able to
provide quality work. It will be up to employers to tap into this rich source
of experienced workers, although at the cost of offering more flexibility.

    Financial self-sufficiency: an inescapable reality for which we are
    preparing earlier than ever

    Increased life expectancy will most probably force our retirees to care
for their aged parents: the fastest growing population segment in the world
today is that of the 85 and older! Our new retirees will need to be very self
sufficient to finance their retirement, since they will be less able to count
on the capital gathered by their parents or the help of children or workers
that have become too few. In Canada, it is now generally agreed that
individuals are first responsible for financing their own retirement, with the
secondary help of the state or employer. Life insurance emerges as a choice
strategy: 67% of active Canadians are using it to help finance their
retirement. Today's active starts saving earlier than in the past: in 2004,
the average age for preparing for retirement was 34, it now stands at 30.
Saving options that offer a good return on investment and that are adapted to
all stages of active life will be needed more than ever.

    Living in one's home: not a synonym for boredom and isolation

    The great majority of Canadian retirees live at home (96%). Our retirees
generally own their own home (84%). If 33% of our retirees travel, most remain
at home to enjoy their favourite activities. One third (31%) regularly
practice a sport; gardening keeps 22% busy, culture and reading, 14%, as is
the case for taking care of grand-children or the family in general. Community
life is not neglected: 26% of retirees, most often women, do volunteer work.

    Taking active care of one's health: watch out for stress!

    The new generation of Canadian retirees is in better shape than ever,
especially when compared to their counterparts in the rest of the world: 40%
of our retirees say they are "in very good health" against only 23% for the
international average and 27% for Quebec. Our seniors take an active part in
keeping in shape by practicing a sport and watching what they eat. This
preventive attitude is good news for the government since many of our retirees
(67%) count mostly on public health insurance in case of illness, although
Quebec has a larger proportion of privately insured (54% are insured by the
state). Not counting pollution, stress is the number one health enemy for 78%
of retirees, well ahead of tobacco and junk food. Since stress also affects a
large proportion of actives (87%), it is expected that this phenomenon will
deserve the special attention of health professionals or public health
agencies.

    Taking care of one's appearance, while agreeing to become old

    Our retirees appear to feel comfortable with their self-image, and to
accept with serenity the physical signs of aging: less than 5% would consider
undergoing cosmetic surgery that would make them look younger. While caring of
their general appearance, our retirees are also among the least likely in the
world to use products to prevent the effects of aging. They seem to count more
on a healthy lifestyle to remain young!

    Technology: an every day ally

    Our retirees spend as much time as actives do on the Internet, whether
they use it to exchange email messages (86%), find information (82%), carry
out banking operations (46%) or follow daily news (49%). They are however less
likely to use it for shopping. Already in 2005, 59% of retirees had a
computer, 55% an Internet connection and 51% a mobile phone. The cliché of the
older person overwhelmed by new technologies now appears be obsolete... Our
retirees will be better informed than ever, connected with their family and
other retirees and, mainly, able to express themselves!

    Aging: a hot topic in Montréal starting September 4, 2008

    As an expert on retirement, AXA is also the principal partner of the
IFA's 9th Global Conference on Ageing and Expo Ageing & Design Montréal, that
will start tomorrow, September 4, to increase the population's awareness of
aging and its impacts. For further information regarding these events:
www.ageingdesignmontreal.ca.

    To learn more about the aging and retirement phenomenon, you will find
all the Canadian results of the 2008 AXA Retirement Scope (with international
comparison), as well as the data from earlier editions of the Scope, on the
following website: www.axa.ca

    About the AXA Retirement Scope

    The AXA Retirement Scope is an international survey whose objectives are
to explore and understand the attitudes of the population towards retirement
and compare its image to its reality.
    The survey, whose sample is made up of more than 18,000 actives and
retirees, was carried out in 26 countries during the fall of 2007 by a
consortium of research firms led by the GFK Group and represented by CROP in
Canada.

    Analyzed countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany,
Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Morocco, New
Zealand, the Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia,
Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    About AXA Canada

    Operating throughout Canada, AXA offers its clients, through its
2,200 employees and some 4,000 brokers and consultants, an extensive range of
damage and personal insurance products and financial services. In 2007, its
sales amounted to CAN$1.74 billion and its net earnings reached CAN$196.1
million. AXA Canada is a member of the AXA Group, a world leader in Financial
Protection, whose activities take place mostly in Western Europe, North
America and the Asia/Pacific region. Throughout the world, 67 million clients
put their trust in AXA. For further information about AXA Canada, please visit
www.axa.ca.




For further information:

For further information: AXA Canada: Colette Lemieux, (514) 282-6033,
colette.lemieux@axa-canada.com; Christiane Jacob,
christiane.jacob@axa-canada.com, (514) 282-6033

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