Jackson and West Tennessee (Change Location)

Jan 25, 2024

Care Professional of the Year - Megan A.

Written By: Brian Lahm for Home Instead of Jackson
Megan Abiles Jackson 692 CPOY 2023 January 2024 Photo 1

Megan Remembers Grandparents, Says Helping Seniors ‘Feeds My Soul’

You can totally understand if Home Instead® Care Professional of the Year Megan Abiles sheds a tear or two when she thinks of her grandparents. “I get pretty emotional when I talk about why or how I arrived at caregiving as a passion. At age 6 or 7, I started helping my grandparents around the house. My grandparents lived next door, and my great-grandmother lived a block away as well,” Megan explained.

Megan recalled walking home from school, which was also a couple of blocks away from where she lived. Megan would make stops at her great-grandmother’s home first. “Then I’d stop at my grandma’s and ‘papa’s,’ ” Megan said, referring to her grandfather. “I’d take the trash out if they needed that assistance. I also made beds and assisted in cooking. I loved doing this every day. It became a big part of who I was.”

When Megan’s grandfather became ill, went to the hospital and returned home with a bed sore, Megan said she knew senior care was something she wanted to do for her life’s work. “I learned how to bandage his bed sore, and soon he was calling me his ‘little nurse,’ ” Megan said.

She added: “My grandparents both passed in 2005, when I was 9 years old, and I always yearned to have something like those relationships again. Nobody will ever replace them, but to know I can help other seniors feeds my soul.”

While she was attending high school, Megan had dreamed about being a registered nurse. “I knew at a very young age I wanted to work with the elderly,” said Megan, who went to Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, for two years before she decided to leave. “I was ready to start my life, and college was honestly very depressing for me. I started work at a grocery store until I found a caregiving job with an in-home care agency. That was eight years ago, and here I am sticking with it.”

On March 4, 2020, Megan joined Home Instead of Jackson, an award-winning franchise owned by Bryson and Linda McQuiston. Megan had been working for a company that arranged private-duty caregivers when she began searching Indeed.com for a new senior-care job. “I loved working privately,” Megan said, “but my clients were moving out of state, and I wanted to find something where I didn’t have to be the caretaker and a middleman involved with a client’s insurance coverage.”

Megan will never forget her interview with Home Instead. She recalled: “I was so emotional because I was so exhausted from not having a set schedule while working as a private-duty caregiver. Home Instead really felt like home, and I got such a huge sigh of relief when talking with a staff member that I began to cry. I knew on that day, it was going to be the change I needed. Boy, was I right!”

Nearly four years later, Megan hasn’t changed her view of Home Instead. “What I love most about Home Instead is that you feel like family! No matter what you are going through, they are always there if you need to talk, need prayers or just need anything in general. They always do their best to listen to you and be there for you in any way possible,” Megan explained.

Home Instead stood behind Megan more than two years ago when she faced the biggest challenge of her life. “I had my youngest daughter in December 2021, and she was in the neonatal intensive care unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville for 47 days. We did not know if she would make it, and Home Instead was always there for me,” Megan said. “Home Instead staff members would call and check to see how my daughter was and even sent me a gift basket while I stayed at the hospital with her. Home Instead is truly family to me!”

In January 2024, Home Instead made another memory for Megan when she was honored as the franchise’s Care Pro of the Year for 2024. When Client and Care Professional Experience Manager Brooke Childers made the announcement, she simply said: Megan is fabulous.”

Among the considerations for achieving Care Pro of the Year status, an employee has shown she has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Empathy and compassion are taken into account for the award, as well as skill and wisdom for dealing with challenging situations. Megan embodies Home Instead’s guiding principles of “Build Trust, Take the Lead and Share Your Heart.” She is someone who is exceptional at her work with any client.

Referring to her clients, Megan said: “There are so many memorable stories. I think my favorite would have to be with Mr. M. I spent a lot of time with him, and he was one of my oldest clients. At first, he didn’t know anything about me. I was young, and he didn’t want me helping too much, which is understandable. As time went on, we grew very close, we had ‘adopted’ each other as we would say. We would watch the ‘Gunsmoke’ television series together. He would get so tickled that I would be so invested in the ‘Gunsmoke’ characters.”

Megan said there was a serious side to their caregiving relationship. “We also had a lot of conversations about life and talked about how much has changed from the past, which really meant the world to the both of us,” she said.

Bonding also occurred during meals. “Breakfast was also a big part of his day. He loved his bacon and eggs with tomatoes. At first, I would pass on eating breakfast at the table with him. But, as time went on, that became our daily routine. He loved that we would sit and eat breakfast every morning together so we did just that,” Megan said.

“Sadly, he passed away in August 2022 at age 97. I miss him deeply and still keep in touch with his daughter often. My daughters now call her and her husband ‘grandma’ and ‘papa.’ They are very much like family to us now, and I am forever grateful.”

All Home Instead Care Professionals are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call (731) 984-7062 or apply online. For further information about Home Instead, visit our website.

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