Austin firefighters want more people talking about dementia. And in an effort to start the conversation, a group of first responders put themselves in their shoes for a day.

Thanks to modern medicine, people are living longer; the life expectancy for men and women is 76 and 81 respectively. Unfortunately, this is also means that around 5 million Americans currently suffer from a some form of dementia. Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's.

A couple weeks ago, members of the Austin Fire Department visited the Silverado Senior Living At Onion Creek Memory Care Community and took part in their Virtual Dementia Tour. These first responders put on special glasses, headphones, and shoe inserts, to simulate the disorientation felt by those with dementia. This new perspective motivated the department to partner with Silverado to create an educational experience for current members and even be incorporated into their Cadet Academy.

Because the fire department had a great experience with their simulation, they invited their new friends from Silverado to their training facility to try on the gear and feel the experience of being a firefighter.

If you'd like to learn more about the Virtual Dementia Tour, go here.