A majority of pensioners in Switzerland feel healthy and well integrated, according to a survey by the federal statistics office. The survey also found that the elderly over-estimate their likelihood of being the targets of violence.
Although Switzerland's population is ageing and pensioners now account for one sixth of the total population, they are generally in good health. Seventy-one per cent of those questioned described their health as good or very good, compared to 83 per cent of the general population.
The study shows a clear correlation between state of health and the professional background of those questioned. Seventy-nine per cent of retired business executives were upbeat about their health, whereas only 68 per cent of blue-collar workers said the same.
The survey also found that retired people are much less likely to be victims of violence than most of them believe. They are also considerably less likely to be targets of violent crime than the rest of the population.
Over the 12 months the survey was conducted, less than four per cent were assaulted, while the figure for the national average was nine per cent. But one pensioner out of four expects to become a victim of burglary or theft, and one out of five is concerned about being mugged.
Although the average income of the elderly was significantly lower than that of younger Swiss, the survey found it had no bearing on quality of life as pensioners generally had higher savings and less debt.
Twenty-three per cent of those surveyed even said they could go without any income at all for three years and could still maintain the same standard of living. Only nine per cent of the rest of the population could say the same.
As a general rule, elderly people are more likely than the rest of the population to take part in public life. They tend to bow out of clubs with private membership and take part in local church activities by attending Mass or joining the church council.
Just a third of retired people played host to relatives and friends, but women were far more likely to do this than men.
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