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Introduction

Naturally, seniors want to age in place, but that doesn’t have to mean the place where you live now. Retirement represents a new phase in your life – a chance to make a change, if you want. And that may be the smartest move you can make. The home you know and love now may not be ideal for your later years. And the pandemic has given everyone, especially seniors, a chance to consider what is most important and how they want to live going forward.

Happily, you can find a location that’s just right to launch a fulfilling retirement. We recommend Georgia. And why not? It’s ranked the #1 state to retire.

americus georgia retirementIf you’re starting to think about retirement and want to find the perfect location, think Georgia! If you’re already retired but looking for a more senior-friendly locale, think Georgia! If you’re considering a senior living community that supports aging in place with multiple care options, think Magnolia Manor – in Georgia, of course!

When you retire, you want to live in someplace good – great, really – because this is your chance to finally slow down on the road of life and focus on yourself. The lifestyle you want. The things you love to do. The people you want to be around. On the other hand, an increasing number of seniors approaching retirement age (and long after) have no desire to slow down. You want to do even more of the things you love. Choosing the right place to retire can fuel your fun and feed your spirit.

After all, just because you retire doesn’t mean you lose your purpose in life. You’ll have more time for leisure pursuits, but you want to pursue the other things you love, too – volunteering or taking classes, for example.

May your retirement be long. And may you enjoy every minute of it! We may be just a little bit biased, but we think Georgia is the ideal place to retire. In this guide we’ll tell you why Georgia and seniors are made for each other, and we’ll tell you about some of our favorite towns in this state. It’s no coincidence that the places where you’ll find Magnolia Manor senior living communities are also some of the famously-best (and officially ranked) cities in this state for retirees.

Why Choose Georgia for Retirement

So much more than Coca-Cola and peaches! That #1 ranking is no fluke – Kiplinger ranked Georgia the #3 best state to retire in 2018. What constitutes “best” depends on your personal preferences, of course. But these rankings are based on facts – things like affordability, senior-friendliness, wellness and health care availability, the weather, crime, and overall quality of life that matter greatly to seniors.

If you’re not from around here, you may only know about Atlanta. Or Plains, home to former president Jimmy Carter. But Georgia is a big state, with diverse geography that literally runs from the mountains to the sea. As a place to retire, Georgia offers its own unique list of advantages and its own special appeal.

The weather is great
Tired of snow and cold? It’s easy to warm up to Georgia’s temperate climate where temperatures typically run between 40 and 80 degrees. That’s not to say it never snows, and it is humid in the summer, but hey, humidity is a great moisturizer. Who doesn’t want younger looking skin?

It’s beautiful
Have you always dreamed of retiring to the beach? Do you dream of living where you could be surrounded by lush forests or rolling hills or beautiful farms or rushing rivers? Welcome to Georgia. We’ve got it all. And, by the way, those rolling hills are officially known as piedmont here. Spend some time outdoors in Georgia, and you can meet 160 different varieties of birds and more than 250 species of trees.

It’s vibrant . . . or not so much
From small towns that offer the quiet life to urban settings with all the bustle and pizzazz you could want, Georgia offers the action level that feels just right to you.

retire in georgia

There’s no end of things to see and do
In addition to bird-watching and tree cataloguing, you can hunt, fish, hike, engage in water sports, play golf or tennis, wade in the ocean (and wiggle your toes in the warm sand). You can also visit a vast array of fascinating museums and other attractions, take in a wealth of arts, cultural and performance opportunities, dine on everything from haute cuisine to Southern specialties and foreign foods from around the world, and shop till you drop – into a comfy chair back home in your own living room. Whew!

Sports for every fan
Love to watch professional or amateur sports? Six pro teams call Atlanta home, and towns all around the state have their own local school and college teams in a wide range of sports.

Veterans fit right in
This state has strong military ties, past and present. Georgia is home to many military bases and museums, which makes it a very popular retirement location for veterans. Vets move here to mingle with other retired vets and the next thing you know, their adult children are moving here to join them. Sometimes veterans retire to Georgia because their adult children are already here -- active military, stationed at one of the state’s numerous military installations.

Iconic edibles
We mentioned Coke and peaches earlier, but retire in Georgia and you can be sitting down to chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, pecan pie, and a tall, cold glass of sweet tea. You can taste it all right now, can’t you? Retire to Magnolia Manor, in Americus, and you can enjoy our annual tomato sandwich party, thanks to farm-ripe local produce.

Georgia is affordable for seniors
Whether you’ve amassed a comfortable retirement savings or not, money matters as we get older. It’s not unusual for seniors to outlive their savings. Choosing an affordable place to retire means you can stretch your resources farther and perhaps treat yourself to an even more exciting, carefree lifestyle. What makes Georgia so financially friendly for seniors?

  • Low state and local sales taxes
  • No state tax on Social Security income
  • Very generous income tax deduction (per person) for other retirement income
  • No estate or inheritance tax
  • Low property taxes, should you wish to purchase a home

retire in georgia

And did we mention our famous Georgia hospitality?
Anyone who lives here will be the first to tell you Georgia is big on friendly, welcoming hospitality. Still, there’s an ongoing controversy about that.

See, residents of different parts of the state think they have the warmest people. For example, Kathy Freeman, Activity Director at Magnolia Manor Americus, is from the northern part of the state. She says northerners are the friendliest. But Lydia Romero, Resident Sales Coordinator at Americus, is from the southern part of the state. Guess where she says you’ll find the most hospitable people?

Wherever you retire in Georgia, you certainly won’t have to worry about being welcomed with open arms. As one of our Magnolia Manor staff members says, “This is just a great state!”

Why Choose Magnolia Manor for Retirement

When you move to Magnolia Manor, you’re not only moving to (or remaining in) a fabulous locale within a fabulous state – Georgia-- you’re moving to a community within that community. That doubles your benefits. You don’t even have to be retired. You can start enjoying the Magnolia Manor lifestyle at age 62

Magnolia Manor offers Independent Living at six of our nine campuses. We also offer Assisted Living at seven campuses. So even if you need a little help with a task or two at the time you retire, you can choose a town that offers plenty of activities that suit you to the proverbial “T.”

retire in georgia

What makes Magnolia Manor so special?

  • We are a non-profit organization renowned for our exceptional services for seniors and our dedication to feeding the mind, body, and spirit.
  • We are faith-based, started and still supported by the Methodist Church here in Georgia. Every campus offers church services onsite as well as Bible study groups, and each campus has its own resident chaplain or a pastor from the local community who leads services and provides pastoral care for residents who seek it. We also count retired clergy among our residents. And yet we proudly and openly welcome everyone. One of our Jewish residents particularly enjoyed chatting with the retired ministers at her campus until the day she died.
  • The food! With decades of eating behind them, seniors know good cooking when they taste it. We take pride in serving truly delicious meals at Magnolia Manor, including home-style Southern favorites.
  • We’re family, residents and staff alike. Our staff frequently say they feel blessed to work here, and it shows in their smiles and the way they treat one another and our residents.
  • We share a great sense of camaraderie. That makes it easy to make friends among fellow residents who are similar age and have similar problems yet diverse interests. One of our residents, now 90 years old, likes to remind us that he made his best friend ever after moving to Magnolia Manor.
  • We offer a full continuum of care from Independent Living to Assisted Living, Memory Care, Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing. Once you become part of our family, you never have to leave.
  • Magnolia Manor is extraordinary yet we are also surprisingly affordable. As we like to say, “No charge for aging.” Residents pay a monthly charge that includes all the basics, though there may be additional fees for certain services. However, we do not charge for extra levels of care, nor do we charge a hefty entrance fee as many other senior living communities do.

With so many opportunities for active seniors to explore the surrounding town and to get out and enjoy the outdoors (if that’s your thing), you can retire to your ideal setting no matter which Magnolia Manor campus you choose. Let’s look at our communities more closely.

Americus

NewHomeSource ranks Americus #5 among the best places to retire in Georgia. They say it’s a college town with a “funky culture and charmingly historic architecture,” a place where “you can live a great life without having to compromise.” That’s true.

If you’re looking for a quaint retirement location replete with cultural and social activities, theatre, interesting boutique shopping, and plenty of fine dining (or down home Southern favorites), Americus is for you. Plus there are also two colleges here – Georgia Southwestern State University and South Georgia Technical College. You can nourish your inner student or take in the numerous campus performances and other events.

retire in georgiaMagnolia Manor Americus

One couple traveled all around the United States in their RV, checking out where they might like to retire. They chose Magnolia Manor Americus! You might, too.

When you decide to make your home with us, you can live here the rest of your life. As Magnolia Manor’s original community (and still our flagship), this campus includes living accommodations and services for all senior care needs. We do not have formal Assisted Living, but we do offer Personal Care services for independent residents who need some extra help with certain tasks. So, should your needs change, you can receive increased care and still maintain the same group of friends.

Meanwhile, independent residents are active, indeed. They volunteer in the community in many capacities. Many are former teachers excited to tap into the local retired teachers association. Our campus is just a hop, skip and a jump away from multiple amenities for retired military men and women. There’s a large, well-respected Marine base just 45 minutes away, where vets can get great prices shopping at the commissary. Columbus has several military-related museums and other attractions, just an hour or so away. And there is a huge VA clinic and hospital in Dublin, just two hours away.

When the active lifestyle draws you farther afield, you can be in the mountains in four hours or walking the beach on the Florida or Georgia coast in less than three.

Back home here at Magnolia Manor, you can sit in the whirlpool and shoot the breeze with your neighbors or hang out at the clubhouse and play bridge.

Columbus

You’ll never run out of things to do, see, eat or shop for in Columbus, whether you prefer rafting and zip-line adventures, exploring museums, or attending live opera and theatre performances. You can indulge in other-worldly experiences at the Omnisphere Planetarium and the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, or conduct your own “best place to eat” survey because Columbus offers a broad menu of eateries (including, of course, notable Southern cuisine).

retire in georgia

Magnolia Manor Columbus

This campus does not offer independent living accommodations, so for independent retirees we recommend our soon-to-be brand new community here in Columbus, The Lodge. On our Magnolia Manor of Columbus campus we do offer Assisted Living, and many of our residents are very active indeed. Some are fully independent except for getting assistance with their medications.

This is a close-knit community with just 44 apartments, conveniently situated between two hospitals in historic midtown Columbus. This neighborhood is a long-time favorite for families, so some of our residents didn’t have to move far at all to retire to Magnolia Manor. For folks from out of town, we’re right in the heart of “uptown,” where you can find all the art, dining, and other amenities that make Columbus so popular.

In addition to on-campus Bible study and Sunday services, residents often join congregations elsewhere in Columbus for additional spiritual activities.

Macon

Macon is the #1 best place to retire in Georgia, says NewHomeSource. They describe it as a “charming urban hub” with an “unbeatable quality of life.”

There’s music in the air in Macon, the town “Where Soul Lives.” Macon has been the home or hangout to an eclectic variety of famous musicians from Otis Redding and Little Richard to the Allman Brothers Band and Marshall Tucker Band. You can visit their restored recording studio or one of Macon’s non-musical museums including the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. The Tubman Museum holds the largest collection of African American art, history, and culture in the Southeast. Outdoor minded? Paddle the Ocmulgee River. Or bike the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail.

retire in georgia

Magnolia Manor Macon

We call it living the carefree life for a reason! Love to fish? You won’t even have to leave home, just stroll on down to the pond, rod and bait in hand. The pond is also perfect for geese-watching from a relaxing seat in the gazebo. You can stay in shape at the wellness center or swim some laps in the heated pool. Spirituality is ever-present, whether you want to take a quiet walk, chat with the chaplain, or attend Bible study and Sunday services.

Moultrie

Surrounded by farm country and home to a plethora of festivals and other events, Moultrie offers year-round action. You can take in the outdoor music concerts, or spend some time learning about your new retirement town at the Museum of Colquitt County History. And if you’re like so many seniors who love exploring your family history, you’ll especially appreciate the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library. Shopping and dining? Moultrie has you covered there, too.

NewHomeSource ranks Moultrie #6 among the best places in Georgia to retire. They say this “lovely bucolic town is perfect for retirees who want to kick back and relax.”

retire in georgia

Magnolia Manor Moultrie

When we say Magnolia Manor is faith-based, our Moultrie campus takes it a step further with a 19th century church right on the campus grounds. It’s the perfect backdrop for our spiritual enrichment activities or a one-on-one conversation with our chaplain. To feed your mind and body, we offer seated dining and yummy Southern cooking and a lovely pond just right for gazing or – yep – fishing.

Richmond Hill

Want to retire to a place where you can be closer to waterways – both the river and the beach? Richmond Hill is for you. And, let’s be honest. If you move here your family – sons and daughters and your dearly beloved grandkids – will be even more tempted to visit Grandma and/or Grandpa. Everybody’s a winner! Or maybe one of your children is in the military, stationed at Ft. Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield. You’ll be neighbors!

Richmond Hill attracts active seniors who enjoy the outdoors. Golf is very popular, and so is biking whether you’re riding a traditional two-wheeled bicycle or the more senior-friendly three-wheeler. The town itself is quaint and exudes history, like so many Georgia towns. The small-town atmosphere feels comfortable, with an emphasis on family-owned businesses and cafés. It’s easy to get around, in a car or on your bike.

retire in georgia

Magnolia Manor Richmond Hill

Independent residents at Magnolia Manor love to capitalize on all the activities in the surrounding area, with outings to festivals and other events in nearby towns. Back on campus – well, that’s a big surprise to most folks. A very pleasant surprise.

You see, from the front all you see is a big three-story building. But come on around to the back and you’ll see why residents choose to retire here. It’s so serene and rustic, with ponds and a walking path for exercise or a relaxing stroll. Our dining room is on the third floor overlooking the pond. And all our apartments have screened porches where residents can enjoy a coffee or a lazy afternoon nap.

There’s action, too, with many scheduled activities and classes and open time devoted to whatever the residents conjure up. Our philosophy at Richmond Hill is “we’ll try anything once and see if it catches on.” Thumbs up, and it stays. No interest, and it’s gone.

Who lives at Magnolia Manor Richmond Hill? Lots of veterans, plus a number of retired teachers and nurses. Maybe you will too someday soon.

St. Marys

You can’t get much closer to Florida than St. Marys, Georgia—it’s right across the river. But who cares? It’s Georgia that won the #1 ranking as the best state for retirees. And St. Marys may be just the right town for you. You can enjoy the coastal climate, the waterways and everything the seashore has to offer. You can even go below the surface to check out the St. Marys Submarine Museum. (The Kings Bay Submarine Base is nearby.) Or maybe golf is more your style.

You can’t get much closer to Florida than St. Marys, Georgia—it’s right across the river. But who cares? It’s Georgia that won the #1 ranking as the best state for retirees. And St. Marys may be just the right town for you. You can enjoy the coastal climate, the waterways and everything the seashore has to offer. You can even go below the surface to check out the St. Marys Submarine Museum. (The Kings Bay Submarine Base is nearby.) Or maybe golf is more your style.

retire in georgia

Magnolia Manor St. Marys

Carefree coastal living at Magnolia Manor includes a wellness center and heated pool to keep your body strong and moving, sumptuous Southern cuisine in the dining area, and the faith-based activities always available in every Magnolia Manor community including a chaplain, Sunday services, and Bible study groups.

St. Simons Island

You don’t have to retire to Hawaii to enjoy island living, you can get the full flavor of this lifestyle on St. Simons Island. While one source ranked Macon as the best place to retire in Georgia, Retirable named St. Simons Island as their #1 pick. Why? “Resort-style living” and “the historic district with plenty of sights and events.” Seniors make up a third of the island’s population, about double the senior population in other towns around the state.

But we’re not talking boring seniors, we’re talking active folks who will welcome you as a new neighbor and a new friend. The town features the Island Players Theatre, classical music programs, and Picnic in the Village.

retire in georgia

Magnolia Manor St. Simons Island

You know you’ve arrived at Magnolia Manor St. Simons Island when you see the on-campus speed limit – 9.5 miles per hour! You could say that everything about our lifestyle here is intentional – deliberately laid-back, sort of like a cruise ship where everything is close by and close friends look out for one another. When you hear the phrase “one big family,” you can picture Magnolia Manor St. Simons Island. This is not just a place to live, our residents call this their home.

We’re just a few miles from the beach – after all, this is an island. Residents love to walk or ride their bikes around the campus and off-campus, too. Local families come here to walk our grounds. Residents volunteer in the community, and the locals reciprocate with treats and gifts for our residents.

Why Retire to a Senior Living Community

No more major moves! Knowing that a full continuum of care is available relieves the stress and worry about an uncertain future if your health changes. At Magnolia Manor, we go above and beyond when it comes to peace of mind, because even if your financial situation changes we will never ask you to leave. This can be a significant concern for seniors because it’s all too easy to outlive your resources.

retire in georgiaRetirement communities offer safety and security, even for independent residents. It’s reassuring to know there is 24-hour security and that there is always someone to call if you have an emergency. (Often apartments are designed to include a call button inside.)

You can finally jettison all the things you’ve grown tired of doing – yard and home maintenance, etc. – and the costs they bring, as well as your mortgage payment and (ever-increasing) property taxes. In a senior living community you become a renter, but virtually all your expenses including utilities are included in a single monthly fee. This can make far more sense financially and functionally than purchasing a new home in a new location at the time you retire. Things will change. In a senior living setting, you’re prepared!

In a setting where everything is at your fingertips and you have fewer day-to-day worries, you can make the most of every minute however you like and have more resources at your disposal to do that.

You can count on physical, social, emotional, and spiritual support with wellness centers, onsite dining options, and a multitude of other amenities, depending on the specific community you choose.

Who you are doesn’t change when you move to a senior community; because retirement is not the end of the road, it’s all about enhancing the years you have left with the quality of life you’ve worked for. You can get an inside look at living the carefree life at Magnolia Manor by reading our quarterly Manor Living Magazine. You’ll be instantly charmed by the people, both our residents and our amazing staff.

Tips to Choose Your Retirement City

What are your lifestyle preferences? Upbeat or laid back? What kind of scenery do you want to gaze upon when you look out the windows? What size community and ambiance fits you best? Do you have transportation, or if not, how will you get around? There are so many things to consider when you’re looking for a retirement community, we’ve created a comprehensive guide that walks you through the details.

Here are some essential tips:

  • Make a list of your preferences – must-haves, features you’d love to have but which aren’t critical, and things that are a deal-killer for you. Keep in mind that (sadly) your favorite vacation spot is likely a poor choice for retirement. You’ll need a different set of amenities as a full-time resident senior than you’d need as a tourist, and travel destinations tend to be pricey.
  • If you have a strong faith, be sure to put that on the must-have list because the spiritual community can make all the difference in making the right retirement decision.
  • Identify some places that meet your requirements – at least the must-haves. Consider what the town is like year-round, not only in its best season. For example, there might be great summer festivals but what is there to do in the winter?
  • Think long-term – for example, is the town prosperous and well-managed so that you will still want to live there in 10 or 20 years? How did the area fare during the pandemic? This extended emergency situation affected everyone, everywhere, but a community that showed extra strength in pulling together to combat isolation and fear is the kind of place where seniors can thrive.
  • Look into the health care options – as an independent senior you may have Medicare and/or other health insurance, but are high quality hospitals, doctors and specialists easily accessible?
  • Prioritize affordability, as we’ve noted earlier. Conveniently, places that are top-rated for retirees are often the same places that offer tax advantages for seniors.

retire in georgia

Many seniors want to relocate to be near adult children or, especially, grandkids when they retire. That can be immensely rewarding, but keep in mind that your children may relocate themselves later on, for work or some other reason. Will you then feel stuck in your new home town? It might be better to pick a place you love and budget travel expenses to visit family members periodically.

Above all else, choose balance instead of basing your decision on any single factor. For instance, affordability is important, but a city that’s less expensive but not appealingly livable won’t serve you well.

Of course, if you’re considering retiring to Magnolia Manor (and we think that’s a sterling idea!), one of the factors you’ll want to consider is which of our communities suits you best.

Which Magnolia Manor Campus is Right for You?

You may be independent, healthy and active now, but most seniors eventually require some type of assistance as they grow older. You might require physical help with common activities of daily living, your memory could start to play tricks on you, or you could develop a new or worsening chronic health condition such as diabetes or heart disease.

This can be especially worrisome as you grow older, especially as you consider where you want to retire. What will happen if your needs change? What if you’re part of a couple and only one of you needs more care?

Because Magnolia Manor provides a full continuum of care options, once you become part of our family you can remain with us forever. All of our campuses offer multiple levels of care, but those specific care options do differ from one location to another. If the community you choose as an Independent Living resident does not offer the next level of care you need later on, you will have top priority to transfer to another Magnolia Manor community that does. Here’s what each campus offers:

retire in georgia

Americus

retire in georgiaColumbus

Macon

  • Independent Living
  • Assisted Living

Moultrie

  • Independent Living
  • Assisted Living

retire in georgiaRichmond Hill

  • Independent Living
  • Catered Living (enhanced personal services for independent residents)
  • Assisted Living
  • No skilled nursing, but Magnolia Manor Midway is nearby

St. Marys

  • Independent Living
  • Assisted Living

St. Simons Island

  • Independent Living
  • Catered Living (enhanced personal services for independent residents)
  • Assisted Living
  • Skilled Nursing
  • Rehabilitation

As important as it is to consider the future, you cannot predict what it will bring in terms of changing health care needs. So let’s get back to the here-and-now. Review that list you made of retirement location preferences, then go back and re-read the sections above that describe each of our Magnolia Manor communities. You can find lots more information on our website, under the Communities tab.

It's Smart to Plan Ahead

The best places to retire are in demand, obviously. That’s as true for senior living communities as it is for the towns in which they’re located. As a result, many of our Magnolia Manor communities have waiting lists. But that’s no reason to feel discouraged. You can get on the list now, and when you’re ready to make your Big Move, we’ll be ready to welcome you.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot to think about if a move is part of your retirement plan. This guide will help you think through the process of moving and make comfortable decisions about downsizing and focusing on your new future.

Why Wait? Truly independent Living Beckons

Retirement can be everything you’ve looked forward to, and more. The choice is yours. But it takes planning. Deciding to retire in Georgia is a great way to start. We encourage you to learn more about independent senior living at Magnolia Manor in Americus, Columbus, Macon, Moultrie, Richmond Hill, St. Marys, or St. Simons Island. We’re looking forward to welcoming you into our family.