Our greatest fears: perception versus reality
Measuring the divide between our greatest health and wellbeing fears and the statistical likelihood of them actually happening.
- Health-related concerns are generally our greatest fears.
- While most people appear to understand the likelihood of tragic sudden events pretty well, the key gap is in relation to dementia.
- Improving your lifestyle through diet and exercise can help minimise your risk of developing a chronic condition or disease.
Brought to you by NobleOak Life Limited.
For most of us, our greatest every day fears are based around our health. In a recent survey commissioned by NobleOak Life Insurance, 1,000 Australians were asked to rate their greatest fears. The results were then compared to the actual likelihood of occurrence based on published statistics.
The results (see table below) showed that out of 11 traumatic events listed, the top four that people believed were most likely to happen to someone like them in the future were cancer, heart attack, car accident and stroke. Those surveyed significantly underrated the second most likely statistical cause of death, dementia.
The survey respondents placed the likelihood of events such as plane crash, terrorist attack, lightning strike and shark attack at the bottom of the list, despite recent press about these events.
Our fears are justified
Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2014 identified heart disease as the leading cause of death. This was followed by dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), an often underestimated cause of death that unfortunately continues to rise. It is only ranked seventh by Australians in the survey.
The next likely causes of death are stroke, cancer and chronic lower respirator disease. Together, these accounted for over one-third of all deaths in 2014. More males than females died from heart diseases and cancer and more females died from Alzheimer’s disease.
The next likely causes of death are stroke, cancer and chronic lower respirator disease.
While survey respondents significantly overstated the likelihood of car accidents and underestimated dementia, they correctly placed cancer, heart attack and stroke towards the top of their concerns. The leading causes of death for Australians are outlined in table below.
Understanding the need for cover
While most people appear to understand the likelihood of tragic sudden events pretty well, the key gap is in relation to dementia. If someone has late-stage dementia, they may die due to related medical complications such as infections, or more directly from the disease due to malnutrition or dehydration.
Unfortunately, dementia rates continue to rise. And with projections indicating the number of people in the population aged 80 and over will double in the next 20 years, it’s likely that dementia will become our leading cause of death within the next few years.
Improving your lifestyle through diet and exercise can help minimise your risk of developing a chronic condition or disease. But nothing can completely ward off unforeseen medical problems. This is where insurance comes in. If nothing else, you can at least help to look after your own and your family’s financial interests in case you do become sick.
While many people hold income protection policies, these policies may not provide adequate protection in all circumstances, such as if you are diagnosed with an illness or disease, particularly if you continue to work part-time. Trauma insurance is designed to pay out a tax-free lump sum when you suffer an unexpected illness.
Although the accepted illnesses vary depending on your policy, some of the common conditions covered under trauma insurance are: cancer, heart attack and heart surgery, coronary artery disease, stroke, coma and dementia.
For more on life insurance, visit the NobleOak Life Limited website.