Organization, Goals, Mission
Sight Loss Services, Inc., Cape Cod and Islands, is a 501(c) (3) non-profit, human service organization providing services on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, We offer unique and unduplicated services to those who are newly blind, visually impaired, or have progressive eye disease. For over 30 years, the agency has helped those who are losing sight – be it through heredity, disease, or accident – to cope with the loss of sight and the challenges it carries.
The Cape Cod area is one of the fastest growing regions in the state for visual impairment. Most blindness comes on gradually, and most diseases of the eye are diseases of age. Barnstable County (Cape Cod) has twice the percentage of residents over age 65 compared to the rest of Massachusetts, and is the third ‘oldest’ county in the nation. By the year 2020, it is estimated that there will be more cases of macular degeneration (which is only one type of incurable eye disease) in the United States than all cases of cancer – combined. We are standing on the beach on Cape Cod, watching as a tsunami of vision loss approaches.
Our support groups are a unique service for residents. We do not take or require insurance nor do we charge a fee for any of our services – our clients are experiencing a physical and emotional crisis, and the stress of losing sight is enough without also worrying about the cost of needed services or if you fit an income profile or demographic. Sight Loss monthly support meetings for which we provide transportation, which are also places to trade ideas and listen to speakers.
The simplest things become major chores – a realtor can’t see a MLS listing number, a cook can’t accurately set the temperature on a stove, etc. Sight Loss has adaptive aids to help people continue their daily routine and remain productive. Some problems can be aided with advances in technology, but even more devastating is the loss and loneliness and darkness as blindness sets in.
When simple things become a chore, it gets easier to remain at home instead of going out, remaining alone instead of wondering if you’re being looked at with pity.
Anyone who has tried to live on Cape Cod without a car knows that the isolation is crushing. Physical contact with others remains a prime consideration for us. When sight is lost, people begin to withdraw into the safety of home. Part of our core mission is to keep people participating in their community, and enjoying its businesses, attractions and institutions. During 2013, our agency answered 10,394 requests for services from 2,048 unduplicated contacts – blind and visually impaired residents, their caregivers, their neighbors and friends, agencies and institutions, and others.
Our efforts throughout the community during that time have helped to support, inform, refer, educate, and improve the quality of life for countless visually impaired individuals and helped to establish our agency as the central resource for those seeking assistance for visual impairment. Although 30 years have passed the philosophy of our agency has never changed: No one should go through vision loss alone. Sight Loss Services is here to help.