Dear Carol: My elderly parents have two or three medical appointments every week and I am the only person who is willing to take them. The result of this is that I don’t go to the doctor myself. I believe this is partly because I am exhausted from being in doctor's offices so much. The other part is that if I did go for a check-up and something was wrong it could be too time consuming to handle my parents appointments and my own. I know you’ll tell me I should take care of myself, so I guess I’m just asking how common this is. - Grace
Dear Grace: Caregivers who neglect their own health for the reasons you cite are so common it’s almost normal behavior. I was like you, so I completely understand. With multiple elders to care for, sometimes I felt like I lived in doctor's offices. I skipped mammograms, among other things. I knew that was unwise, but I just couldn’t face making the appointments for myself, let alone the follow through. I was fortunate that I didn’t develop health problems that worsened because of my self-neglect.