He's seen the light on name change

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He's seen the light on name change
He's seen the light on name change

When the news release opened up on my computer screen, I had come to the realization: I've converted.

The headline was “50-year-old statewide association gets new name.” New York had joined the wave. The New York Association of Homes & Services for the Aging soon is going to be LeadingAge New York.

Good-bye, NYAHSA. Hello, LANY? (Could be interesting using that acronym ... but that's not the point of this posting.)

As the notice duly mentioned, the name change was precipitated by the January change of the American Association of Homes & Services for the Aging to LeadingAge. Eleven state affiliates already have followed suit and 25 others have said they also plan to change in the next few years. With NYAHSA's members having voted to change the name last Wednesday, all they have to do is complete some paperwork over the next few months and they have their new identity.

Although I never openly wrote it, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about the change to LeadingAge when national headquarters announced it last summer. Changing from that paragraph that used to be AAHSA's full name? Sure. But to the vague, please-describe-me-in-more-detail “LeadingAge”?

And I wasn't alone. The McKnights.com comment board lit up with opinions on both sides of the fence when news of the new name broke. LeadingAge was either fresh and “simply better told the story about the group's wider activities” (in just three syllables, mind you).

Or it was an unwise, headstrong jump into the arms of anything that wasn't, well, 19 syllables long.

Once again, 19 to 3 is a big, winning score.

Oh, sure, every now and then I find myself starting to refer to the “American Association of Homes …” well, you know. (I still cringe at typing the whole thing out.)

But I'm also warming up to hearing and saying something quicker, sharper, neater. And not just because it's shorter. LeadingAge is a concept as much as a name. I get that now. And when clarification is no longer needed, it will be absolutely golden.

The gambit here is that LeadingAge will become so well known, with such a strong reputation, its puny three syllables will speak volumes when they're uttered. It could work.

Most people nowadays, especially the younger set, are more than willing to settle on “AARP,” for example. They know it stands for that gargantuan mass of older people (who have a pretty cool magazine but get pitched an awful lot of insurance deals and other money-makers, though I digress …).

And AARP said by its older, much longer name was still a lot shorter than AAHSA's older, longer name.

Yes, this could be a good deal. More than 35 states and their national office — and various bandwagon-jumpers — couldn't be wrong. Could we?

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.


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