Participants were fitted with oversized gloves, glasses that blurred their vision, and had a constant stream of chattering – as well as a few well-placed slammed doors and sirens – in their ears throughout the six-minute experience.

The simulation, while tailored for dementia, actually fits a wide array of diagnoses, said January Brown, the family caregiver specialist with Eastern Carolina Council, the company putting on the simulation. People suffering from any type of cognitive impairment or anyone who hears voices would experience life similar to those with dementia, she said.

Self and Sydney Mayo were the first ones to do the simulation Thursday morning, both of them doing it for the first time. Mayo teaches fitness classes at senior services and said her experience was interesting and stressful.