Natural Supports are unpaid supports that are provided to people in an organic way. Natural supports are varied in their nature and who provides them, but the most common type of natural supports are those provided by family members to those who have a disability. Natural supports more broadly can include support from friends, neighbours, members of a circle of support or from voluntary support organisations or workplaces.
What does “Natural Supports” really mean? To answer this question, it may be easier to look at yourself and think about all the people in your life—friends, family, co-workers. Relationships with these people are your natural supports. Who has been instrumental in pivotal points in your life, or whom can you count on for help? What did you do to establish those relationships? These are questions some people give little thought because natural supports are taken for granted.
We assume most people want to live happy and comfortable lives. To achieve the lifestyle they prefer, people rely on some kind of support system or network. This is where “natural supports” enter. Natural supports by definition are just that …”natural.” They are a phenomenon of personal and community support that touch many facets of life.
For those with lower support needs, checking in with natural supports and some limited hands on support might be all you need to have your support needs met. Legacy planning is a must for those who only receive natural supports, and your Support Coordinator or LAC may be able to help in linking you to people who can set up a framework for ongoing natural supports into the future.