Nikta Aghaipour is waving goodbye to her life in BC – including her “shoebox” apartment – and moving to a dream home on five acres in Nova Scotia.

“I want to get a pet pig,” laughs Nikta, an occupational therapist, who has worked as an Independence Coach at CONNECT for almost four years. “I want some space to stomp around. We are moving to an old renovated farm house.”

Nikta and her partner Peter are moving into the farm house once owned by Peter’s grandparents. The home has changed hands a number of times and is now back in the family.

“When we were in Nova Scotia on a visit, we decided to go look at the house for fun,” says Nikta. “As soon as we stepped on the property, I felt like we were in an Emily Bronte novel. And the house itself is filled with so much whimsey. It’s really amazing. I can’t believe we get to live there”

Nikta, who always works more than one job at a time, has been an OT with LifeMark in BC for about five years. She will work for a LifeMark clinic in Nova Scotia called Bridge Water Clinic, just 20 minutes from her new home.

While excited for her new adventure, she says she will miss CONNECT and the dedicated people she works with.

“CONNECT has completely changed my practice as an OT,” says Nikta. “I think the Life Redesign Model is cutting edge and really enlightened. Rather than waiting for a resident to get to a certain level of ability before introducing them back into some semblance of their life, CONNECT does it all at the same time: Community engagement, personal care, homemaking and productive pursuits are all in a day’s work.”

She says she was particularly impacted by the words of Karen Tims, Director of Culture, People and Services at CONNECT, who said, “People have to have a reason to eat and breathe.”

“That just stuck with me,” says Nikta. “It’s so important to start to redesign a life right from the beginning of rehab so people find purpose and have a reason to get up I the morning and put in the work.”

She says the examples of resident success stories are endless. She recalls a former resident now living alone in an apartment even though he thought his next move would be to assisted living. Another resident just went back to a graphic design job.

“I think all of our residents go from not expecting very much from themselves to living a pretty full life. That’s a huge testament to CONNECT, the coaches and all staff.

“The Life Redesign Coaches are amazing at what they do. I haven’t met one person at CONNECT who looks at their work as ‘just a job.’ People are passionate about CONNECT. These are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”

Good luck Nikta. You will be missed.