SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month and Older American Month and the mental health of seniors is a growing issue that needs proper attention. In San Jose, a man is working to strengthen the minds of his community through the art of meditation.
In a time where seemingly so much negativity surrounds us, seniors at Atria Almaden Senior Living are finding a sense of calm.
The CDC says around seven million Americans over the age of 65 experience depression each year, partially due to a lack of physical activity.
Meditation classes are just one of the many resident-led activities for seniors to build community and strengthen their mental health.
"It's important to involve yourself with other people, to socialize," community member Lisa Poyser said. "In general, the workouts make you feel better, make you feel stronger and make you feel safer."
Activities director Candi Warren says it's important to let the members of the community lead the class to give them back that sense of control they sometimes feel they lose.
One of the most popular instructors is 92-year-old Master Pui Tsang.
"It's not just relaxing," he said. "This exercise, you work on it. It's called Qigong. This meditation and exercise started in China, 2,000 years ago."
"Everyone knows Pui," Warren said. "If anybody has a question regarding meditation, regarding Tai Chi, Pui's the man."
A man of privacy and few words, Master Pui said he'd rather have his class do the talking than do an interview.
The Tai Chi master has earned six degrees and learned the art of meditation from China.
The community says his classes are bringing up the mental spirits of residents and employees alike.
"Pui is extremely important, let me tell you," Warren said. "A lot of the staff here has learned a lot from him as well and it all centers around our mental wellbeing and our physical health because those two go hand in hand. Without one, it's hard to have the other."
Master Pui hopes to teach mental strength so his community can still live an active and exciting life.
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