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Falmouth Fund at Work: Support Groups Fill Critical Need for the Vision Impaired

Falmouth Enterprise

Sight Loss Services has helped Florence Mixer of Falmouth cope with vision impairment in many ways. One of the best has been the support group organized by the Cape nonprofit. The support group, which meets at the John Wesley United Methodist Church on Gifford Street in Falmouth, has had a major impact in Mrs. Mixer’s life. “I’m very, very glad I joined,” she said. “I get a lot of information, and people are friendly and helpful. I come home feeling positive. It gives me the courage to go on.”

The Falmouth Fund of the Cape Cod Foundation recently granted $1,000 to Sight Loss Services to help fund the support groups. Falmouth is the only town in which the agency offers two groups, because of the increase in Falmouth residents who are seeking support and guidance for their vision loss.

For 30 years, Sight Loss Services, headquartered in West Dennis, has linked the sight-impaired with tools, including LED reading machines and talking microwaves. The psychological hurdles of blindness are met through the monthly support meetings, headed by facilitator Bettylou Long of Bourne.

Cynthia E. Stead, executive director of Sight Loss Services, said that for many blind people, feelings of loss and loneliness are devastating. “When even simple things become a chore, it can be easier to remain at home instead of going out,” Ms. Stead said. “The social contact at the group meetings is a prime consideration.”

Ms. Long also locates new research in equipment and surgery that she shares with the group. “It’s important for them to know there is a lot out there that’s working,” she said.

Sight Loss Services holds support groups the second Wednesday of the month and the third Friday of the month from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM at the John Wesley Church at 270 Gifford Street. Transportation is available. For more information about Sight Loss Services and its support groups, call 508-394-3904, or e-mail cessightloss@verizon.net. For information on the Falmouth Fund of the Cape Cod Foundation or the fund’s December 15 deadline for grant applications, e-mail info@capecodfoundation.org or call 508-790-3040.

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