Imagine then how much worse it must be for anyone who is the sole carer of a vulnerable family member or friend.
It is hard to imagine the panic it must cause to be told you have to be admitted for treatment knowing there is nobody to look after your loved one.
City council social workers have now adopted a scheme which should help ease the strain for the thousands of unsung heros in Glasgow who devote their lives to other people.
More than 7000 individuals in the city have registered as carers but it is believed there could be many thousands more who are not known to the city council.
They are being offered the chance to sign up to an emergency card which lists what should happen in the event of an emergency, to the person they look after.
The carer carries the card with them at all times allowing the emergency services to get help in place for their family member as quickly as possible.
Instead of an injured or sick carer frantically trying to figure out how to get help for their loved one, a package of expert help can be in place almost immediately.
Social workers and GPs are encouraging carers they come into contact with to get one of the new cards.
So far just over 400 people have signed up but the feedback is already hugely positive.
Virtually everyone said knowing a plan is in place if the worst happens has made them feel more secure and less stressed.
Stress can cause its own health problems so the new emergency care plan may keep carers healthier for longer.
Naturally, everyone would hope carers never have to use the card and that it can stay tucked away in their purse or wallet.
But it must be a huge relief for people who take on such an important and valuable role to know they have a safety-net in place if they need it. So far only one person has had to ask for the emergency care plan to be activated.
But there is little doubt those numbers will rise as the number of carers signing up to the scheme increases.
It will not cost the council a lot of cash but the emergency card will be priceless for many thousands of people.
Often it is the least expensive projects which have the greatest impact on city residents.
Recently, the council was approached by Barlinnie Prison asking if long term prisoners nearing the end of their sentences could work in city cemeteries.
The council has had numerous complaints about fallen headstones and untidy graveyards but because of lack of cash, have not been able to tackle the situation.
Taking on prisoners has gone some way to solving the problem.