New senior living center in Columbia County aims to be a community inside of a community

By Lex Juarez | July 25, 2019 at 10:29 PM EDT – Updated July 26 at 3:29 PM
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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) – A new senior living center opened its doors in Columbia County on Thursday, July 25, for a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Thrive at Augusta Senior Living has been in town constructing and planning for over a year, and residents will start moving in in August.

Herbert Olsen is one of 20 who have already picked out a room in the building. He said, “It really is different. I was retired, living in a big house, and I didn’t think I needed that. This will be more comfortable.” Olsen’s daughter is excited he is moving too, as she lives just around the corner. However, operators say the establishment will offer more than comfort, striving to create a community. Melita Winnick, President of Thrive at Augusta explained, “A community is a place where people come and they thrive. They socialize and have different options for them, and there’s a lot of choice. A facility is a place they have to go to. There’s limited choices, there’s no luxury and it feels very clinical.” Tammy Shepherd, President and CEO of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce added, “It’s focused on having a great quality of life for our seniors, and what a great amenity to have here.”

Thrive at Augusta works to offer residents a more at home feel. The building houses a gym, movie theatre, a salon and spa, outdoor parks and game areas as well as multiple dining rooms. It joins six other senior living centers in the area, and Shepherd says helps fill the need in our community. She said, “As baby boomers are coming out of the workforce and growing older, to be able to have a facility, or a community as they like to say, to carry out that next stage of life is so important.”

The building sits on only 13 of the 40 acres the company has. They are already planning on expansion, starting with redoing an old farm house next door and turning it into a Bed and Breakfast.