Confident of recovery, but not of financial stability in event of a
TORONTO, June 8, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians are more afraid of cancer
than any other health concern, according to the 2011 Desjardins
Financial Security (DFS) Health Survey being released today.
Twenty-four per cent of survey respondents identify it as their
greatest health fear.
Interestingly, this is especially true for Canadians who feel that their
physical health is good. Other top concerns identified by Canadians
include Alzheimer's disease or dementia (12.1 per cent), disability
caused by an accident (9.9 per cent), a chronic illness such as MS or
diabetes (8.3 per cent), aging (8 per cent), a heart attack (7.9 per
cent) or a stroke (4.4 per cent).
Respondents are taking care of their health…
The survey suggests that Canadians feel they are taking care of their
health. More than two thirds feel that adopting a healthy lifestyle is
a significant part of illness prevention. And 70 per cent have made
significant personal changes to their lifestyle in order to be
healthier. In addition, despite their health fears, close to two-thirds
of respondents were confident they would survive a critical illness.
"This is encouraging," said Dr. Robert Buckman of the Princess Margaret
Hospital. "The results indicate that people no longer think of cancer
as a death sentence. However, I think we need to recognize that it's
impossible to prevent all cancers. A healthy lifestyle is important,
but it isn't a silver bullet."
…but what about their finances?
The results also show that while Canadians feel they are doing what they
can to improve their physical health, many aren't taking necessary
steps to financially prepare. Almost three-quarters of respondents feel
that the health care system will not cover all the costs related to the
treatment of a critical illness and 64 per cent are worried that they
could not afford the balance. Sixty-seven per cent say an illness would
make them financially vulnerable and they would likely need to turn to
family for financial support. Close to the same number feel that
creating an emergency fund in case of a future serious illness was
important. Most alarmingly, almost three-quarters of Canadians have
taken no steps to financially prepare for a possible critical illness.
The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that the lifetime costs of
cancer treatment in Canada is between $25,000 to $30,000, depending on
the diagnosis and other contributing factors. According to Theresa
Boily, marketing director at DFS, "That's why it's important for
Canadians to have a financial plan in place to protect themselves and
their families against the financial repercussions of a serious health
problem. Unfortunately it's still impossible to prevent all critical
Respondents of the Desjardins Financial Security Health Survey are
particularly honest when it came to possible financial short-falls
during a critical illness recovery. A little over half (53 per cent)
feel they would be able to cover their every-day expenses like food,
housing, transportation and clothing, or pay monthly bills (48.7 per
cent). If faced with a critical illness that caused them significant
financial hardship close to their ideal retirement age, 63 per cent
would put if off in order to rebuild their retirement savings.
Surprisingly, when asked which life event would cause them the greatest
financial difficulty, 28.4 per cent say that a job loss would be more
devastating than a critical illness diagnosis (25.2 per cent).
All survey respondents were asked to evaluate their physical and
psychological health; the survey indicates that Atlantic Canada has
both the most physically and most psychologically healthy provinces:
PEI has the highest percentage of respondents who feel their physical
health is excellent: 32.1 per cent compared to 10.8 per cent
Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest percentage of respondents who
feel their psychological health is excellent: 39.8 per cent compared to
24.1 per cent nationally.
Quebecers are the most comfortable with the financial implications of
critical illness; on almost every measure, they are the most confident:
Nationally, 65.4 per cent totally or somewhat agreed that they feel the
need to save in case of a critical illness, while only 49.5 per cent in
While 73.5 per cent of Canadians strongly or somewhat feel that not all
the medical costs of a critical illness would be covered by the health
care system, only 60.3 per cent in Quebec feel that way.
Torontonians perceive themselves to be healthier than do Ontarians
living outside Toronto: 17.0 per cent in Toronto say their health was
excellent, compared to 9.8 per cent in the rest of the province.
Ontarians are the least confident that family and friends would take
care of them during the treatment of and recovery from a critical
illness: only 23.2 per cent totally agree compared to 28.8 per cent
nationally and 35.3 per cent in BC.
The Prairie region has the province that identified itself as the least
physically healthy: 10.2 per cent of people in Saskatchewan identified
their physical health as being poor, compared to 4.9 per cent
People in Vancouver feel they were more likely to experience the
greatest financial difficulties due to a job loss, compared to
respondents in the rest of BC.
British Columbians are highly concerned about the financial consequences
of critical illness, compared to the rest of the country:
76.0 per cent totally or somewhat agree they need to save money in case
of future health problems compared to 65.4 per cent nationally.
81.2 per cent totally or somewhat agree that the healthcare system would
cover only some of their medical costs in the case of a critical
illness, compared to 73.5 per cent nationally.
About the Survey
SOM Surveys, Opinion Polls and Marketing conducted this Web survey on
behalf of Desjardins Financial Security from April 13 to 20, 2011. In
total, 2,115 questionnaires were completed with a sample of Canadian
Internet users aged 18 to 64 years old. The data was weighted to
reflect the distribution of the Canadian population aged 18 to 64 years
old in terms of gender and mother tongue distributions in 14 regions
(Atlantic Provinces, Quebec CMA and elsewhere in Quebec, Toronto CMA
and elsewhere in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Calgary CMA and
elsewhere in Alberta, Vancouver CMA and elsewhere in British Columbia).
The data was also weighted to reflect the population distributions in
terms of the joint age-gender distribution and the proportion of adults
who live alone in Quebec, Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.
About Desjardins Financial Security
Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the
leading cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in providing
life and health insurance and retirement savings products to
individuals and groups. Every day, over five million Canadians rely on
Desjardins Financial Security to ensure their financial security.
Desjardins Financial Security employs some 4,000 people and administers
$27.1 billion in assets from offices in several cities across the
country, including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa,
Montréal, Québec, Lévis, Halifax and St. John's. For more information,
visit our website at www.desjardinsfinancialsecurity.com.
SOURCE DESJARDINS GROUP
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