Magnolia Manor is 50 and still growing

5/6/2013

The Mother’s Day Offering for The League of the Good Samaritan will be received in the month of May. Magnolia Manor is especially excited because we are celebrating 50 years of serving older adults in South Georgia. The following article tells of the growth and expansion we have seen and what is yet to be.

Over the past 50 years, Magnolia Manor has become an icon in senior retirement living. Over 1,000 employees provide care for more than 1,300 residents on eight Magnolia Manor campuses in South Georgia including Americus, Buena Vista, Columbus, Macon, Moultrie, Richmond Hill, St. Marys and St. Simons. Services include a wide array of independent retirement living options, assisted living, skilled nursing care, rehabilitative therapy and specialized dementia care.

Mark R. Todd began his journey with Magnolia Manor over 25 years ago. Todd states he “initially stumbled into the health care arena after college and worked in many capacities in the organization before being named president and CEO.”  Driven by the personal side associated with this industry, Todd not only cares for the residents; he has developed many deep and lasting relationships with staff members over the years. It is not uncommon to meet employees who began their career at Magnolia Manor and have remained for up to 40 years.  “Growing our skill base from within the core base of loyal employees makes for good business.”

As Magnolia Manor is making preparations to celebrate its 50th year of serving older adults throughout South Georgia, staff members embrace the vision of the South Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church who commissioned an internal study on needs of the elderly in South Georgia. From this study which identified the need for safe, secure housing along with long-term care for the elderly, Magnolia Manor evolved. Today this ministry expands across denominations and geographical boundaries, embracing residents from all walks of life.  Todd relates, “Although this year is about celebrating the past, more importantly, it is about planning the future. And it is about giving the best care.”

Challenges like the economic crisis has inflicted on retirement saving is a big factor in the long-term healthcare industry. The stock market losses came just when a large portion of the population was entering the early stages of demand for elder services.  Seniors are facing the fact that a lifetime of planning has not generated the resources for the care they will need in the immediate future. Todd explained that the downturn “affected our census, the people who come to our facility. It has been slow or no growth. The real estate market is bleak. People can’t sell their homes. If they need services or want to change, they have a hard time. If you have a catastrophic incident, it makes it that much more difficult.”

“Consumer expectations are up.  People are more connected and more aware. It has raised expectations. From a regulatory standpoint, maintaining high standards and meeting new requirements makes it more difficult to continue to provide the level of quality and service that we are known for.”

Todd notes that people are working longer today, while many of the older residents have lived in retirement for longer than they worked. “A 25-year career was common at that time. But Baby Boomers are more transient, they have many different jobs, they don’t stay in one place.  They are not always saving. It is hard for them to think ‘this could happen to me.’ People of this generation often seem to feel as if they will die on their feet,” Todd laughs before adding up his own status on the compendium of life. Upgrading the residential properties to modern standards is an important concession to attracting the upcoming generation of retirees. “We must find ways to improve the space in buildings constructed in 1962. We have to make them more adaptable to today’s lifestyles,” Todd said. Magnolia Manor must “continue to work through trying economic times and we must spend a lot of time and focus on quality improvement.  We must train ourselves to deliver services and focus on quality initiatives.”

Magnolia Manor has made applications to make the switch from personal care to assisted living. After May 31, 2013, many of the 2,000 licensed personal care homes in Georgia will become licensed assisted living communities. An assisted living community will be authorized to provide certain services beyond the scope of services a personal care home is authorized to provide. Magnolia Manor is prepared and ready to celebrate yet another milestone in caring for older adults.

Recently, Magnolia Manor has accomplished another feat in the provision of the right kind of services. Nine assisted living administrators from Magnolia Manor were certified as Level One National Administrators. The exam for this certification was administered by Senior Living University, in partnership with the Georgia Health Care Association. This program was created with input from a selected group of industry experts, incorporating best practice from premier service-oriented companies within and outside the industry. These administrators are armed with advanced knowledge designed to hone their operational expertise and enhance leadership skills. Their class is the first nationally certified assisted living administrators in the state of Georgia. In a class of 23 people, nine were from Magnolia Manor. All Magnolia Manor administrators scored above 98 percent on this exam.

Magnolia Manor’s Board of Trustees over the years includes a veritable who’s who in Georgia leadership. They have a commitment to making the best of things in an industry where growth and development are both crucial parts of success. Todd is confident that the plans on the table will maintain organizational and financial stability while protecting Magnolia Manor’s legacy as a United Methodist Ministry for Older Adults. “In spite of the difficult challenges, we have continued to serve large and small communities and provide various levels of care for individuals on a regular basis. We feel like we have been able to continue to provide quality services,” he said.

Magnolia Manor has been an important source of job creation and a leading economic driver in Americus and the other communities where campuses are sited. The organizational restructure targeted hiring the most capable staff possible. Plans are underway to bring the best facilities, resources and programs to meet the needs of residents and their families. “We want to stand out and to be the facility of choice,” Todd said. “There has been ongoing change. There is no single bullet point. We are working in a completely overarching kind of environment.” Staying true to its primary mission, Magnolia Manor remains committed to current and future residents by offering innovative programs and compassionate care.  

However, the cornerstone of all Magnolia Manor ministry initiatives is The League of the Good Samaritan. The League is composed of donors who are seeking to follow the compassionate example of the Samaritan in Jesus’ parable (Luke 10: 25-37) and provide for the shelter and care of neighbors in need. In the setting of Magnolia Manor, those neighbors are senior adults in need. The needs of senior adults grow every year. With those growing needs, the cost of keeping this promise of the League of the Good Samaritan increases. Fifty years ago the founders of Magnolia Manor made a promise that “anyone coming to live at Magnolia Manor would never have to leave the Manor due to an inability to fully pay for their care.” To “secure the promise” for future residents, it is essential to fully fund the League. Let me encourage you to support the League of the Good Samaritan. Encourage your congregation to support the League. Every district of the South Georgia Annual conference and every county in the state of Georgia have at least one of its residents at a Magnolia Manor care facility. Extend the loving hands of care to a senior adult, by supporting the League of the Good Samaritan.

 

To make a contribution to The League of the Good Samaritan, you may do so:

-Online at www.magnoliamanor.com,

-By phone at (229) 931-5922,

-Or by picking up a Mother’s Day Giving envelope from your local United Methodist Church.