The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care. To see this year’s Future Leaders, visit https://futureleaders.agingmedia.com/.
Christine Boultbee has been named a 2023 Future Leader by Senior Housing News.
To become a Future Leader, an individual is nominated by their peers. The candidate must be a high-performing employee who is 40-years-old or younger, a passionate worker who knows how to put vision into action, and an advocate for seniors, and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
Boultbee works as an interior designer with Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. Senior Housing News caught up with her to discuss her time in the industry and where she sees the industry headed, including efforts to integrate senior housing with intergenerational connections and local community ties.
What drew you to the senior living industry?
When I started in interior design, I thought I wanted to do healthcare, but I ended up loving the senior living area of design even more because it was more flexible. If you think about a senior community, there are so many different types of design rolled up into one project. Residential, hospitality, healthcare, and retail all converge into one project, which keeps things interesting. The other reason I was drawn to senior living is because it is likely going to be a part of all of our futures, and there’s much room for improvement.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in senior living?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in senior living design is that we must be designing with the clients in mind. I think about ‘What are their hopes and fears? How can we design with those things in mind?’
If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of senior living, what would it be?
If I could change one thing for the future of senior housing it would be integration into the community. We are seeing this start to happen a little bit, and it’s beautiful.
What if senior housing was in the center of the community and not on the outskirts? There would be more community engagement, and opportunities to interact with people of all ages would be beneficial for all parties involved.
What do you foresee as being different about the senior living industry looking ahead to 2024?
I think that the difference will be designing spaces for our parents instead of our grandparents. My grandma may be happy with a set menu, meal time, and overall schedule, but I know my parents will want options.
My grandparents had very different lives growing up than my parents did, and I think that is going to change the industry. I think senior housing will be more like bespoke hotels rather than the regimented senior housing we are used to seeing.
In a word, how would you describe the future of senior living?
Flexible. I think things will have to be very flexible to suit the baby boomers who will be the next residents of these places.
What qualities must all future leaders possess?
Empathy and positivity.
If you could give advice to yourself looking back to your first day in the industry, what would it be and why?
Listen, learn, absorb. It is so important to listen to the end users, the workers, and those with practical experience in the field.