By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
“To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.” –Winston Churchill
On Jan. 1, 2016, Nikkei Concerns, founded in 1975 by second-generation Japanese Americans to serve Japanese elderly, will change its name to KEIRO Northwest.
Nikkei Concerns (NC) means the concerns of second generations. Five units are under NC, including Seattle Keiro (a nursing home; Nikkei Manor (an assisted living facility); an adult day program for seniors living in the community; and a continuing education classes for active seniors.
Why the name change? It’s about embracing change since healthcare reform.
Jeff Hattori, NC’s CEO, said, health care reform and a growing Asian community are truly “game changers” for NC. “The “concerns” of 40 years ago are different than today, however, both presented significant challenges.as well as opportunity.”
NC has researched, analyzed, and developed strategic initiatives over the past three years based on the work of the “Blue Ribbon Committee” and through the Board’s very deliberate strategic planning and rebranding work. NC has been expanding, launching, and testing services that support the health and wellness and “needs/wants” of our community while meeting the mandates of healthcare reform, Hattori said.
Tomio Moriguchi, one of the NC seven founders in 1975, said he is for it. It’s appropriate to change NC name to expand services to serve the Asian community.
Bill Tashima, former president of the Japanese American Citizens League said he is excited about the name change. “Keiro is widely recognized in the API community as a high quality compassionate provider of health care. Keiro means “care for our elders,” a value that moved the Japanese community to establish the original Keiro Nursing Home and a value held by all API communities. Adding “Northwest” to the name emphasizes the vision to broaden services beyond Seattle, needed by the changing demographics of the local JA/API community.
The fact is, the Seattle Keiro nursing home has been serving other Asian groups for years. In King County, the Japanese population is about 31,000 less than the other Asian ethnic groups such as Chinese (58,000), Koreans (38,000), Filipino (53,000) and Vietnamese (44,000).
“Respect for Elders” is truly the essence of who we are,” said Hattori. “It is a name that most recognize and have a connection to. It signals change as we transform and grow. It honors our legacy and is a value that all communities embrace.”
What a wonderful way to honor the past and bring it to an assuring future! (end)