What fun yesterday was. My MS friends and I joined a beginners class to learn mahjong. I must admit I did have a lesson before with my mom and my girlfriends which was a lot of fun but it was difficult organizing everyone to get together again. I’ve been wanting to learn mahjong for a long time. I originally brought the idea up to my MS girls because we are around during the day and I thought it would be great for us. I kept looking for classes but kept missing them. I finally found one offered at the library that we were all able to join. We are 4 people so it is perfect for us to have our own game.
Besides the fact that I love these girls, there were actually benefits to learning mahjong. It helps with the cognitive issues of multiple sclerosis. According to the National MS Society https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms/Cognitive-Changes
Cognitive changes are a common symptom of MS — more than half of all people with MS will develop problems with cognition. For some, it may even be the first symptom of MS. Certain functions are more likely to be affected than others:
Information processing (dealing with information gathered by the five senses)
Memory (acquiring, retaining and retrieving new information)
Attention and concentration (particularly divided attention)
Executive functions (planning and prioritizing)
Visuospatial functions (visual perception and constructional abilities)
Verbal fluency (word-finding)
Keeping your brain working is a tool that can help keep you functioning. I actually have a subscription to luminosity to continue to challenge my brain on a daily basis. Mahjong will be another tool that is fun and social but still requires your thought, reasoning and adaption on each game played. It’s just another tool for the brain.
There is a lot on cognitive issues and MS and this post wasn’t intended to address that. This was just to say how a simple game with friends can provide benefits for all of us with multiple sclerosis. Plus it’s fun. It’s just another way we can get together with our limitations and enjoy a nice afternoon. I’m excited for us to be able to learn it to play on our own.