Life’s a beach for surfer with dementia, despite COVID-19 restrictions

Doctor with stethoscope
Valley News - Health

MURRIETA – Lifelong surfer Roger Moyer longs for the waves and sand, but COVID-19 reopening safety considerations still keep him from the shore. Instead the Murrieta memory care community where he resides brought it to him Thursday, July 16, by creating a beach experience right outside its doors at Vineyard Place, 24325 Washington Ave.

The community set up surfboards, beach umbrellas and chairs; brought in a vintage Woody station wagon; played beach music and served picnic drinks and snacks. Organizers set out containers of sand and a pool of salt water for Moyer and other residents taking part to dip their hands and feet into so they enjoy the shore’s physical sensations.

“Sensory cues are especially important for those living with memory impairment, because they stir recollections of wonderful moments from the past,” Jodie Cornman, senior community relations director for Vineyard Place, said. “Handling the surfboards and getting in and out of the Woody will also be significant tactile and visual moments that bring the experience alive.”

Moyer began surfing at the age of six and pursued his passion throughout his life, especially favoring the waves at Encinitas, Carlsbad and Trestles at San Onofre State Beach. He also built a career as a religious leader, serving as senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Carlsbad for more than two decades and as a chaplain for first responder agencies in San Diego County. In the days following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, he and members of his congregation went from California to New York City to provide spiritual comfort.

“With it still not possible for our residents to leave the community to go to a real beach, we are hoping this experience will be just as exhilarating for Roger and everyone taking part,” Cornman said.

Vineyard Place is operated by Anthem Memory Care.

Anthem’s core purpose is to protect, engage and love people living with memory loss and is committed to provide understanding and significance to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. For more information, visit

Submitted by Anthem Memory Care.