What's in a name? We're about to find out—maybe
Gov. Mark Parkinson
Hope you have a pencil handy with your scorecard at home. One with a good eraser.
In case you might have forgotten, names are changing. Big names.
Next week, the American Association of Homes and Services will be no more. Thank goodness. Probably just as much as AAHSA members didn't like having to roll 15 syllables off their tongues every time they started a new conversation, I can safely say we journalists did not relish the idea of giving up at least three lines of text (sometimes four or five, depending on column width) every time we referred to the group in print.
So as of Tuesday, let's all embrace LeadingAge, if only for its brevity. The name might be changing, but it's the same quality group of people, promoting good caregiving and housing for needy seniors and other individuals.
It's safe to admit that even staunch AAHSA supporters aren't entirely sure how the new name will go. But they know it's shorter. Although, let's face it, at least for the near future they've really just added 10 syllables to the ungodly long name. (“Hi, I'm with LeadingAge, the group formerly known as the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.”).
It's a problem that could extend into the future. While LeadingAge is clear as a bell to ardent supporters, it's not to others. Many AAHSA fans have been quietly scratching their heads, applauding the ability to change but wondering just how it's going to come off. What about important conversations, say, several years from now? Elaboration on the three syllables is definitely going to be needed. (How does this sound: “Hi, I'm with LeadingAge, an association of 5,500 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. We advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that supports, enables and empowers people to live fully as they age.”)
But change we all must.
And while we're talking about name changes, over at the American Health Care Association you'll notice that Gov. Mark Parkinson is now at the top of the masthead. True, there was much ballyhoo in the fall when the announcement was made that he would be replacing Bruce Yarwood. But the change in official statements to the public was almost imperceptible, starting last week. Just insert the new name.
Except there appears to be a little more interest in capitalizing on titles. The clever folks at AHCA aren't going to waste a microgram of leverage, nor should they. A governor for less than two years, and never elected to the office, is still a governor. That point apparently will be driven home in the association's public references about its new president and CEO. A Mark Parkinson without the “Gov.” label might not be seen. Anything to help when impressionable lawmakers, regulators or others are involved.
If they can do it with presidents, captains and other titles, why not for this, too?
But the next person who tightens the vocal cords to break off a perfectly Cockneyed, “'Al-oh, Guv'nuh!” better be prepared to do it to the man himself … or risk a couple sharp whacks with a freshly bound copy of the inches-thick Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.