Some Americans spend a fortune on acute medical care and long-term care (LTC) at the end of their lives.
But, for typical older Americans, the true money sponge is housing costs. Americans ages 85 and older devoted 44 percent of household expenditures to housing costs in 2011, up from 42 percent in 2003.
The share of that household’s spending going to food increased slightly, to 11 percent, from 10 percent. The share going to acute care, nursing home care and related services fell slightly — to 19 percent, from 21 percent.
In households in which the oldest member was ages 50 to 64, the share of expenditures going to housing increased to 47 percent in 2011, from 40 percent in 2003. The share going to food fell to 12 percent, from 13 percent, and the share going to health care fell to 8 percent, from 10 percent.