Sally Nason of Scarborough is the first member of Vet to Vet Maine to be compensated as a family caregiver.

Jack and Sally Nason in their home in Scarborough. Drew Johnson / The Forecaster

Nason has taken care of her husband, Jack, a Vietnam War veteran, since he suffered a stroke in 2017. She was recently certified as a caretaker through a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that enables those who are a caring for a veteran in their family to receive payment for up to 16 hours a week.

“It feels good that veterans recognize me for doing what I do,” Nason said.

Unless you’ve been a caretaker, Nason said, it’s hard to imagine how tough it really is.

“It’s a job taking care of him,” she said.

Both Nason and her husband are enrolled in Vet to Vet Maine, an organization that helps connect veterans with other veterans and their caretakers with other caretakers so they can help one another.


“I wasn’t going to bother with it,” Nason said of the certification. But then Vet to Vet’s Kathy Lavigne of Gorham urged her to do so.

“They were lovely and gave me encouragement,” Nason said.

To get certified, Nason completed a 50-hour online course.

“I studied hard, I passed it, and then we went to a little graduation ceremony,” she said. “I thought I got my master’s degree or something.”

Nason sees her role as her husband’s caretaker as an important one in helping him maintain his independence.

“I’m hoping I can always do this,” Nason said, noting she and her husband are going on years 79 and 80, respectively. “It keeps him out of a nursing home or assisted living facility longer.”

Celebrating Sally Nason’s VA caregiver certification are Kathleen Candage, co-owner of In-Home senior Services Inc. in Gorham; Jack and Sally Nason of Scarborough; Kathryn Lavigne of Gorham, V2VM Caregiver Support coordinator; and Susan Gold, V2VM executive director. Contributed / Judie Alessi O’Malley

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