MySeniorCenter Fun Facts

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

Thank you to everyone who participated in the naming survey last month. We were eager to get your thoughts on the future of the Senior Center name and you delivered. Over 900 people from 512 different organizations responded. Those responses came from 34 US states and 2 Canadian provinces - enough variety that we can call it statistically relevant.

Whether your organization is one of the 19% who have recently undergone a name change, the 30% considering a name change, or even the 51% happy with what you've got, the results of the survey are fascinating. The data sheds light on what the experts in the field (you) are thinking about, especially as it relates to the word 'senior'. In addition to the data-driven results (the graphs), we've included some anecdotes from the comments section, new names you've created, acronyms, and even a letter explaining a recent name change.

We also appreciate the number of people who responded to the survey with excitement since they're currently in the process of renaming or at least rebranding! And please know that MySeniorCenter will support you, whatever you call yourselves!

Welcome to...Fun Facts
The Name of the Game


In the Name of Love

A Center's name typically (although that seems to be changing; more on that later) has two different parts: the prefix and the suffix. The prefix is the portion of the name that may include the municipality, dedication or a brand. The suffix is the second part which could be Activity Center, Senior Center, Community Center, etc. For instance, the name Acton Senior Community Center includes a prefix of Acton (the municipality) and a suffix of Senior Community Center. In the survey, the first questions were about the prefix. Of the three general options for the prefix, municipality is straightforward - it's where you're located. Dedication is when the organization or facility is named after a person or family. The last option - brand - is something you've chosen to represent your organization that is neither a person's name, nor based on your location (another trend is using a municipal nickname which is brand-like). The chart below shows the prefix choices for those that have already changed their names (Changed) versus the current mindset for those that are still in the decision phase (Thinking).

While Municipality is the most popular for both groups, what stands out is that 65% of the changed group chose something OTHER than their municipality for the prefix. Here are some examples that were shared in the survey comments: Plummer Place, GoodLife, Leader, The Helm, Watermark, Madonna, Silver Linings, Mt. Si, Copper City, South Gate (those last three are examples of regional or municipal nicknames).

A Horse With No Name

Figuring out the prefix is, literally, only half of the battle. The suffix is where the great debate really lives. The discussion of whether to include the word 'Senior' in the name has been going on for a long time - at least since 2004 when we got involved in this world. There are pros and cons to the word. Here are some comments from the survey that capture the argument well:

  • I do think the word "Senior" is a negative in today's world. More emphasis needs to be placed on wellness, active and/or healthy living.
  • We're still not sure but definitely dropping the word 'Senior'.
  • We surveyed our members and they liked the term 'senior' so we're sticking with it.
  • Whatever name we pick must have 'senior' otherwise 'non-seniors' will try to join!

For those organizations that have already changed their name, 22% chose a suffix that includes the word 'Senior'. 35% selected something that wasn't even included as an option in the survey Here's what they chose:

Here are some of the options they selected that weren't on the survey: The Anchors (former home of a sea captain), Adult Multipurpose Center, 50+ Club, The Hub, Age Friendly Center, Social & Wellness Club, Active Living. In Ontario, they're referred to as Seniors' Active Living Centres and they use SALC as shorthand.

For those thinking about a name change, the survey prompted you to select your top five (or more) selections from the available list. We took that data and used a points system to rank the most popular choices. Here are the Top 20 with the total points at right:

A Rose by Any Other Name

For the final question on the survey, we asked what one word your participants would use to describe your Center. We figured the words that rose to the top might be something you'd want to include in your name and/or tagline. Rather than a boring list, we put them into a word cloud. The larger the word, the more often it was submitted.

To get the full effect, click 'download pictures'

Got Your Name On it

A couple of things stood out in the results. First, is the frequency of the word 'Active', both in the list of suffix options and as the most popular in the word cloud. The second, based on the comments, is the number of organizations looking to form their own brand: Studio 60, The Helm, The Anchors, Watermark, GoodLife and a few others. As one commenter mentioned, "Target doesn't call itself "Target Shopping Store" Its just "Target". "Senior Center" etc. isn't really necessary if you have a good name and you brand it." That's a great point and maybe we don't need to follow the traditional prefix and suffix combination.

If you've recently changed your organization's name or are in the process, please let us know. In addition to highlighting logos every month, maybe we'll highlight names as well. Keep the great information coming!