Senior Volunteering at San Luis Obsipo Retirement Community The Manse On Marsh

For many Central Coast seniors who live in San Luis Obispo retirement communities, lifestyle is a major determining factor for where they want to live. At places like The Manse on Marsh, what our San Luis Obispo retirement community residents enjoy the most are the chances to interact with fellow residents, staff and family, and to give back through a number of on and off campus volunteer programs.

Some of our more recent retirement community volunteer efforts have included collecting supplies for San Luis Obispo schools, and donating handmade hats and blankets to welcome newborns at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. Finding ways to give back helps keep our independent and assisted living residents connected to other San Luis Obispo retirees and the community. As an added bonus, volunteering comes with some fantastic health benefits.

Research indicates that we reap numerous benefits when we help others; volunteering can improve well-being by reducing heart rate and blood pressure, recharging the immune system, and buffering the impact of stress. Socially, volunteering provides the opportunity to meet like-minded people and form new connections, while also raising self-confidence and self-esteem. Simply put, when we do good, we feel good!

San Luis Obispo retirement community volunteers are highly likely to benefit from volunteering, in part because it provides them with physical and social activity and a sense of purpose. Studies have shown that volunteering may increase life expectancy while improving quality of life as well. For many seniors, lending a hand can provide an important link to their community at a time when they may be struggling to find meaningful ways to give back.

The best news of all?  Nearly everyone can volunteer in some capacity, whether by lending talents or lending time. Delivering meals to the less mobile, making hats and blankets for newborns, and reading to children at a local school or library are all things that may seem small, but have a big impact in the community.

Did you know? RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) is a volunteer network for people aged 55 and older. This network matches senior volunteers with diverse service opportunities in their communities, from tutoring and mentoring to renovating homes and assisting victims of natural disasters.

We think a vacation stay is a great way to get to know The Manse on Marsh retirement community and San Luis Obispo better. Stay with us and enjoy our on-campus activities as well as our premier culinary offerings. We’ll be happy to show you around and introduce you to our residents. Contact us today for more information!

San Luis Obispo Retirement Home Celebrates “Older Americans Month”

Getting older doesn’t mean what it used to. For many aging Americans, it is a phase of life where interests, goals, and dreams can get a new or second start. Today, aging is about eliminating outdated perceptions and living the way that suits you best – a concept we can get enough of at our San Luis Obispo retirement home, independent, and assisted living community.

Take Manse resident Dot, for example, who welcomes warmer weather by captaining a speedboat with her family. Or our own San Luis Obispo retirement community basketball team, The Manse Globetrotters, who are still living it up on local courts with Manse staff, friends, and family. Or our annual retirement community golf tournament, a favorite for active seniors along the Central Coast.

Since 1963, OAM has been a time to celebrate older Americans, their stories, and their contributions. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the annual observance offers a special opportunity to learn about, support, and recognize our nation’s older citizens. This year’s theme, “Age Out Loud,” emphasizes the ways older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence, and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages.

The Manse on Marsh will use OAM 2017 to focus on how older adults in our San Luis Obispo retirement home and senior independent living community are redefining aging—through work or family interests, by taking charge of their health, and through their community and advocacy efforts. We can also use this opportunity to learn how we can best support and learn from our retirement home residents.

Throughout the month, The Manse on Marsh will conduct activities and share information designed to highlight how We encourage you to get involved by connecting with The Manse on Marsh on Facebook, call us at 805-541-4222, or visit

Join us and ACL as we speak up for #OAM17 and #AgeOutLoud this May!

More about Older Americans Month:

Visit the Official OAM Website

Follow ACL on Twitter and Facebook

Contact your Area Agency on Aging: Visit or call 1-800- 677-1116

Celebrating Mom at The Manse On Marsh

May is always a fantastic month at The Manse on Marsh as we celebrate two special groups of residents: Moms and Veterans. We’ll talk more about our awesome Vets later in the month, but for now, we’re focusing on Mom, and ways to celebrate with her right here at The Manse on Marsh.  We offer Mother’s Day events to celebrate all of our wonderful moms and their families. It’s the perfect way to spend the day with both mom and your family.

While you’re here, we have a few suggestions for activities with mom that will make your visit even more memorable:

  1. If you have young children, keep your kids busy by taking along some arts and crafts supplies so they can make Mother’s Day cards for you and your mom. In fact, we recommend coloring!

Here’s why:

·         Coloring helps with the six Cs including: coordination, creativity, communication, calmness, capability and connection.

·         A study found adults 65 and older who participated in creative activities, such as coloring, made fewer trips to the doctor and had fewer health problems than their counterparts who didn’t participate in such activities.

·         According to art therapists, the creativity of coloring can promote enhanced joint health and flexibility because seniors need to use their fine motor skills when picking up and using a colored pencil or marker.

·         Research also shows coloring works much like meditation by blocking out negative thoughts and improving mood. It is especially helpful for those suffering from depression or loneliness, common issues among seniors.

  1. Create a scrapbook filled with photos and memories of you and your mom so the two of you can reminisce together.
  2. Bake a batch of mom’s favorite cookies for her to enjoy and share with friends.
  3. Bring mom flowers or framed family photos to decorate her room.

Take Advantage of Technology

If you don’t live near The Manse, consider using technology like Facebook or Skype to communicate with mom. Seeing one another’s faces can make your time together more special than a standard telephone call. If you’re worried about your mother’s ability to navigate the technology, recruit a sibling, cousin or family friend to help out (and do the reverse in case you are the one who is nearby and they are far away.) Our staff is happy to help assist with your remote celebration as well – just give us a call in advance and we can discuss the best plan of action.

And from all of us at The Manse on Marsh, Happy Mother’s Day!  

Benefits of Senior Living Communities

Where you grew up, went to school, raised a family, and worked helped make you the person you are today. The same is true for your retirement years. Where you choose to live now will determine how well you live in the future.

Some seniors worry they’ll give up too much and their quality of life will go downhill if they move to a retirement community. But in fact, many residents and their families report that the overall quality of life goes up for seniors living in communities.

Here are some reasons to consider living in a senior community like The Manse on Marsh.

Research into senior health has proven that:

  • Older adults who report the highest levels of well-being and happiness are those who socialize, work or volunteer and exercise.
  • Having healthy social relationships is a significantly higher predictor of longevity and is associated with reduced rates of depression and better cognitive health.
  • Older adults who are physically active have lower rates of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers, as well as higher levels of functional and cognitive health.

Senior living communities like The Manse on Marsh create opportunities to engage in socialization and physical activity. They’re built into every day on our senior living campus. Add to that regular, nutritious meals, access to medical care, and services and amenities that relieve the burdens of homeownership, and it’s easy to see why our residents are enjoying the good life at The Manse on Marsh.  

Exclusive to The Manse on Marsh

·         We work with Interns from the Recreation Studies program at Cal Poly help create activities for residents. 

·         Our senior living community is very active! Some resident favorites are wine tours at local wineries, gourmet picnics, theatre & performances at CalPoly's Performing Arts Center & San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, in-house classes taught by local college professors, and dress rehearsals and live symphony in our Atrium.

Celebrating National Poetry Month at The Manse on Marsh

April is National Poetry Month. Many people who have never tried writing poems often find themselves drawn to the practice as they age. Not only does writing poetry help exercise the creativity of the right side of your brain, but it also serves as a way to process complex emotions and feelings, and capture memories and lifetime wisdom in written form.

At The Manse on Marsh, we celebrate the arts, and offer activities and special events for residents that cross the creative spectrum. Often you’ll find residents and their families in the Atrium area of our San Luis Obispo independent and assisted living community, enjoying a concert by the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra, dancing to live music at Oktoberfest, or even learning the ancient art of hula dancing from Kathy Hermosilla, Director of Wellness at The Manse on Marsh.

But you don’t need to be a resident to enjoy our gatherings – many upcoming events are open to the public, and prospective residents are always welcome and encouraged to join us and experience the difference in senior living, vibrantly… and with a little fun.

Indeed, we laugh often at The Manse on Marsh, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to celebrate National Poetry Month with a fun and sweet poem about aging written by retired teacher Tom Krause. We hope to see your smile soon at The Manse on Marsh – schedule your visit by clicking here.


by Tom Krause

The older you get the less you know.
Just ask your kids they will say its so.
Blood pressure up. Arches flat.
Everything you eat just goes to fat.

Get out of bed. Move real slow.
Three times a night you have to go.
Caffeine not only keeps you awake -
it makes you pee for heaven’s sake.

The world keeps changing
at a hectic pace
causing more gray hair
and a wrinkled face.

But as you look in the mirror -
what catches your eye -
is your smile never ages
as the years go by.

Meet The Manse’s New Director of Culinary Services


Earlier this year, we were thrilled to hire Executive Chef Ryan Swarthout as Director of Culinary Services for The Manse on Marsh.

The El Centro, California native fell in love with cooking when he bussed tables at a restaurant, and soon enrolled in San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy. After graduating, Swarthout stuck around the Bay area for some time, working for renowned chef Mark Miller.

Over the years, Swarthout visited Europe frequently to backpack with his wife (Kate, a San Luis Obispo native), and served as a chef for the US military in the alpine ski village of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Eventually, the Swarthouts moved back to the area, where Ryan began working as a sous chef at Gardens of Avila and Café Roma before serving as head chef at several of Paso’s premier restaurants, including Deborah’s Room at Justin WineryRobert’s Restaurant and BarEstrella and Second Press. Swarthout also began his own catering company, preparing meals for weddings and large gatherings at Eagle Castle Winery.

Swarthout’s cooking style is as versatile as his experience – Manse residents have been enjoying delicious salads and dishes that make use of locally sourced goods like produce, seafood, poultry, honey, and olive oil.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on premium culinary offerings at The Manse on Marsh, so when we were presented with an opportunity to bring Ryan on board, we knew we had to do it,” says The Manse on Marsh CEO and Executive Director Farron Bernhardt.

If you’d like to tour The Manse on Marsh independent and assisted living campus in downtown San Luis Obispo, and taste Chef Ryan’s culinary creations for yourself, give us a call, or click here. Check out our beautiful housing options while you’re here, and join in on one of our daily activity offerings.

Senior Care for Veterans at The Manse

At The Manse on Marsh, San Luis Obispo’s premier independent and assisted living campus, we’re honored to have several veterans as residents of our community. Throughout the year, we celebrate the great men and women who serve and have served our nation by inviting the public to join us on The Manse on Marsh campus for special ceremonies and events to mark remembrances like Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

The Manse on Marsh is also proud to offer special recognition to our resident veterans in our “Wall of Honor,” where we feature photos of our vets while enlisted, and now.

Did you know that the government offers benefits for at-home-care and senior living for those retired veterans who served in war time? Veterans who are at least 65 years-old* and who served during war time (though not necessarily in actual combat) may be eligible for financial assistance through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) that can be used to help pay for care. Spouses and surviving spouses of wartime veterans are also often eligible.

The largest piece of qualification for potential benefits is the service requirement, which requires that the veteran served at least 1 day during wartime. The dates that the VA considers wartime are below:

World War II:12/7/1941 through 12/31/1946

Korean Conflict:6/27/1950 through 1/31/1955

Vietnam War: 8/5/1964 through 5/7/1975, although veterans who served in Vietnam itself ("in country") as early as 2/28/1961 may also qualify.

Gulf War: 8/2/1990 to date TBD by U.S. government

Dates of service can be established from discharge papers. Senior veterans needing copies of lost discharge papers can request them from the National Archives, or by calling 314-801-0800.

About The Manse on Marsh

The Manse on Marsh is an exceptional senior living community providing independent and assisted living as well as palliative and respite care. The moment you walk in, you will notice “The Manse” difference — smiling residents enjoying each other's company, friendly staff greeting you, and the aroma of freshly-baked cookies. Experience what makes The Manse on Marsh an exceptional Senior Living Community. Contact us today to experience a tour, a sample of our dining cuisine and to meet a Community Relations Coordinator, plus save $1000 toward your living expenses when you contact us directly. Hurry, offer good for a limited time!


Celebrating Life’s Milestones at The Manse

Moving a loved one into a senior living community is a big step. As your family and loved ones adjust to the change, it’s important to continue to focus on life’s happy moments and milestones.

“Life is a journey, and there are still plenty of celebrations ahead when a new resident moves into our community,” says The Manse on Marsh CEO Farron Bernhardt. “Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays are special, significant events that our seniors can celebrate with their families.”

Milestones like centennial birthdays and fiftieth wedding anniversaries are extraordinary occasions and should be shared. Holidays can leave seniors feeling isolated and lonely, so it’s very important to be with them during these times. These events are great opportunities to reminisce about cherished memories and connect by making new ones.

Planning a party for your senior loved one at The Manse on Marsh is encouraged! There are many simple ways to bring a festive, celebratory mood to a suite or cottage:

  • Decorate! Streamers, banners and balloons create a bright, festive atmosphere perfect for celebrating.
  • Consider your loved one’s interests. Make them a part of the planning process for the celebration. Any favorite foods? Do they like being outdoors? Make sure to tailor the party to their interests and abilities. If they feel more comfortable sitting in a chair, then plan for the party to remain in one room. Make sure to focus the celebration on him or her.
  • Play their favorite music. Make a playlist of their favorite artists. Your loved one will appreciate it and the music might bring back some old memories.
  • Reminisce. Instead of focusing on your loved one getting older, look back together on their life and share your favorite stories. Bring photo albums!
  • Above all, your presence is what matters most. The celebrating, decorations and food wouldn’t mean a thing to your loved one if you weren’t there with them. The real cherished part of the milestones and holidays is that you’re sharing these moments together.

The Manse on Marsh is a welcoming assisted and independent living care community in San Luis Obispo, dedicated to giving its residents the highest quality of life. Our staff and guests love having visitors, and we have several spaces for families and friends to gather with loved ones: 

  • Outdoor spaces and beautiful grounds
  • Recreation areas and lounges
  • Atrium
  • Private residences

About The Manse on Marsh

The Manse on Marsh is located in downtown San Luis Obispo, the heart of the Central Coast and close to home for families seeking assisted living care in Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, and other nearby communities. Amenities include spacious flats and private homes, restaurant-quality open dining, convenient transportation, social activities, maid and laundry services, nurse on staff, attentive caregivers and discrete personal assistance. Learn more or schedule your tour of The Manse on Marsh Independent & Assisted Living campus at

Gardening & Senior Health

Just a block away from award-winning San Luis Obispo senior living community The Manse on Marsh is Emerson Park -- 3 acres of vibrant neighborhood park with unique features and recreation opportunities, and one of our favorite amenities, the community garden. With spring just around the corner, we’re exploring the many health benefits gardening offers to seniors.

Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

Gardening itself can help prevent injury, by offering an increase in mobility and flexibility, something which can help older adults maintain their independence.

Gardening offers both physical and mental health benefits to seniors. While you may have some physical limitations, with the right planning and some modifications, most anyone can participate in gardening activities this spring.

Some of the physical benefits of gardening for seniors include:

  • Increased levels of physical activity. Gardening can burn up to 300 calories in one session!
  • Helps maintain mobility and flexibility. The movements like lifting, bending, kneeling and digging engage different muscle groups and encourage use of all motor skills.
  • Improves hand strength and joint flexibility.
  • Can help prevent diseases like osteoporosis.

Likewise, gardening also offers mental health benefits to seniors like:

  • Improves mood and decreases feeling of sadness and depression.
  • Lessens social isolation and improves well-being.
  • Provides a rewarding experience and a sense of accomplishment to nurture another living thing.
  • Promotes relaxation and reduces stress.

The Manse on Marsh independent and assisted living is wonderfully located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, one of the most scenic towns in the country and a desirable location for families to visit, to enjoy downtown restaurants and outdoor activities like gardening and visiting the beach.

Activities at The Manse on Marsh are planned with each resident's likes and interests in mind. From Cal Poly seminars to shopping and exercise classes, Manse activities offer a fun, welcoming, and exciting environment where all residents can find an outlet for their creative and preferences.

The Manse on Marsh Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day

On St. Patrick’s Day, the residents, staff, family, friends, and neighbors of assisted and independent living facility The Manse on Marsh are celebrating visitors and Pub Crawl – yes, a pub crawl – right on The Manse on Marsh campus. Each “pub” features samples of special Irish beverages and snacks. We’d love to have you join us!

As we celebrate, we thought we’d share some fun figures and facts about St. Patrick’s Day, courtesy of the US Census:

36 million: The number of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (slightly more than 4 million). Irish is the nation's second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German.

New York City, 1762: Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world's first St. Patrick's Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. President Truman attended the parade in 1948, a proud moment for the many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and prejudice to find acceptance in America. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the president issues a proclamation each year.

42.1 billion and 2.6 billion: U.S. beef and cabbage production, respectively, in pounds, in 2006. Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick's Day dish. The corned beef that celebrants dine on may very well have originated in Texas, which produced 6.8 billion pounds worth of beef, while the cabbage most likely came from our home state of California, which produced 607 million pounds worth, or New York (462 million pounds).

4: The number of places in the United States named Shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and Shamrock, Texas, were the most populous, with 2,623 and 1,855 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had 159 residents and Shamrock, Okla., 124.

About The Manse on Marsh

The Manse on Marsh is a unique senior living community in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, which offers Life-Enriching Independent and Assisted Living. From independent and assisted living as well as hospice and palliative care, The Manse on Marsh has developed an award-winning reputation for excellence among communities throughout California’s Central Coast.

“Throughout my thirty-five years of experience with older adults and my extensive research on adult communities, I have concluded there simply is not a finer choice for community living than the Manse on Marsh.”

— Julie Schmidt, M.A. Clinical Psychology, LMFT