While the network facilitator is paid by the family or their estate, the people involved in a personal network are not paid to be there. Rather, their involvement is based on caring and a commitment to work together on behalf of the person with a disability. They often include brothers and sisters, family and friends, neighbors, members of faith communities, co-workers, employers, and occasionally , a professional service provider. Virtually anyone can be a member of a personal support network providing that they genuinely care about the person in the center of the group.
A mutual bond grows as the focus person and the network members enjoy shared interests, explore new experiences together, and help one another appreciate life more fully. As with all friendships, these are freely chosen and freely given. We look for people who may have similar interests to your relative – people who want to help your relative overcome challenges, realize goals and follow dreams.
Personal networks do not replace families, but the blessing and cooperation of the family is required to allow network members to make their contribution. They do continue after the death of the family caregivers and function as your eyes, ears, arms, and legs. They are critical to ensuring that trust monies are spent in the best interest of your relative. Networks are what ultimately make the difference in creating a meaningful and rich life for individuals with a disability. Networks create safety and security. They are key to all aspects of a good life.