For some boomers, a social game, not social media

Got a little time to spare nowadays? So did Marcy Abloeser of the Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, but along with some baby boomer friends, she found a fruitful way to fill it. Not with social media … but with social games!

As baby boomers, we need to think about what will bring us joy in our lives once our careers start winding down and the kids are gone. Many boomers pursue hobbies they always loved. Those might involve sports, crafts, collecting memorabilia, gardening, and books.

Five of us, all baby boomers who love the game of Mah Jongg, decided that we want to encourage more people to play. So we created an interactive teaching website called MahJongg Mentor. We believe that games like Mah Jongg, Bridge, even Poker are beneficial to our well-being because they give us three things in particular: enjoyment, mental stimulation, and deeper social connections.


What these games (and others) really do is bring us back to our youth, and the memories of earlier carefree days; that’s the “enjoyment” part. Playing cards, board or tile games allow us to “stay in the moment” and concentrate on one thing: the game. Game playing gives us a respite from multitasking and chasing all of life’s demands. There are usually lots of laughs and a feel-good atmosphere.

And the mental stimulation? That’s because games are challenging and require you to think. You can not be a passive bystander. You need to pay attention, be focused, stay engaged. You need to think strategically and prepare tactical maneuvers in your mind. Plenty of articles and studies have been written about how exercising your mind can improve your long-term cognitive skills.

Mah Jongg game set

Mah Jongg game set

Deeper social connections come because, when played in a social setting, games like these allow you to connect with people on all different levels. We have discussions about the latest news and pop culture. When you play with people for awhile you find out “what makes them tick.” You learn about their families, friends, and passions

So learn a new social game today. Have fun, use your brain, and treasure your new friends. You can find people with whom to play these social games by plugging in your zip code at a hobby website called Meetup. Also, you find game lessons at local community centers and on the internet.

Marcy and friends have a Mah Jongg page on Facebook.

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