Mahjong, an ancient game from China that you play using tiles, gained popularity in the United States in the 1920s. This game of intelligence requires concentration. Mahjong is a difficult game to learn and master, but once you do, your ability to excel in the game is limitless, according to the University of Maryland.
Mahjong is a cognitive game. Researchers in Hong Kong say that mahjong is a viable treatment for dementia, according to the Tech Archive website. Mahjong requires players to use attention, memory, planning and calculation skills. Researchers from the City University of Hong Kong studied mahjong’s effects on 62 people who already had mild or moderate dementia. Results of the study showed that when people play mahjong, they gain in all cognitive measures. The effects lasted even after not playing for a month.
Even for senior citizens who do not suffer from dementia, mahjong can improve cognitive development. Mahjong helps with memory skills and helps to keep your mind sharp, similar to the way crossword puzzles do for people. Keeping your mind sharp by exercising it through games helps people react to situations and make decisions faster. This can translate to daily living skills, such as finding an item on a crowded pantry shelf or selecting the right medication bottle, according to Sharpbrains.com.
Mahjong provides a social outlet for senior citizens. Socialization is important for people as they age, according to the Foundation for Senior Living. If senior citizens become isolated, they may become depressed. Mahjong is one activity that can give senior citizens a social outlet with people their own age. Seniors can meet in a friend or relative’s home to play, or they can play in a senior center or even a nursing home.
Mahjong is suitable for all ages. In fact, children can learn and play mahjong online. Mahjong is an educational game for children. The online version of mahjong makes it possible to play this game as a solitaire game instead of a group game. When children play mahjong online, they are having fun, without realizing that they are developing cognitive skills.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.