About Us

Optima Living

We operate Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Supportive Living communities in Alberta and British Columbia. Our communities are amongst the best in Canada. In Alberta, you will find our welcoming communities in Claresholm, Cochrane, Edmonton, Morinville, Lac La Biche, Sherwood Park, Slave Lake, Vegreville, and Wetaskiwin. In British Columbia, our communities are in Chilliwack, Hope, Maple Ridge, Kelowna, Richmond, and West Vancouver.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to provide intimate, home-style living for seniors. We seek to provide the best quality of life possible by enabling each resident to experience a full and independent lifestyle.

Our Vision

We envision every person feeling at home. Here at Optima Living, we feel it is an honour to work with you and we advocate a resident-centred approach where you, the Resident, is the focus of all our endeavours.

Our Values

Respect You

We actively listen to provide a dignified and welcoming home where you can live your life as you see fit.

Uphold Your Dignity

We respect what you say and support your right to make choices for yourself.

Work Together

We work with you and your persons of choice to create a resident-focused community.

Do The Right Thing

We are passionate about doing ‘right by you’ every day.

Join Us

Do you share Optima Living’s vision for the future of senior communities? We would love for you to join us!

Our Leadership

Farid F. Damji

Co-Founder & Principal
Farid F. Damji is the Co-Founder and Principal of Optima Living. Working with a team of qualified professionals, he oversees the operational aspects of the Independent and Assisted Living communities, as well as the residential and mental health care components, to ensure exceptional quality and resident-centred care.

He has a master’s degree in Health Administration. He previously held the position of Adjunct Clinical Professor for the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.

Farid has more than 20 years of strategic and operational experience in complex health care environments, including both hospital and community care settings with the BC Ministry of Health, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, and Interior Health Authority.

Karim Kassam

Co-Founder & Principal
Karim Kassam is the Co-Founder and Principal of Optima Living. He oversees all corporate initiatives. He has completed the Executive Development Program at Harvard Business School and the Doing Business in China Executive Program at the China European International Business School in Shanghai. He holds an MBA from Queens and is a Certified Management Accountant.

Karim has over 25 years of senior executive leadership experience leading in a variety of organizations leading commercial, sales and corporate development, including extensive experience in hospitality and seniors health care and housing. He also held senior executive officer roles at Ballard Power Systems for 10 years, was a Franchisee at Boston Pizza for over 20 years, and was recognized as one of the top agents in Canada at Colliers International where he led the creation of its multi-family investment division in Edmonton.

He is Chair of the BC Women's Health Foundation, Chair of Effective Pricing Solutions, Vice Chair of the BC Seniors Living Association, and Board Director of the Alberta Continuing Care Association.

Ali Shivji

Principal
Ali Shivji is a Principal of Optima Living. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from INSEAD, as well as certificates in Value Based Healthcare Delivery from Harvard Business School and Best Practices In Dementia Care from Johns Hopkins University.

Ali is an expert in care, housing, design, and programming for seniors, having worked in strategy and operations in both the public and private health care sectors for over 10 years. He has worked with the National Health Service in the United Kingdom and with McKinsey & Company’s International Health Care practice, primarily focusing on international healthcare system redesign. He recently served as the Chief Operating Officer for AgeCare, a private senior care and housing company with 10 sites and over 1,800 beds across Canada.

Marjorie Bungay

Regional Director, Operations
Marjorie Bungay is the Regional Director, Operations for Optima Living's Alberta and British Columbia communities. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from St. Mary’s University and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Cape Breton University. She has also studied Disability Management and Complex Care, and is a Certified Occupational Health and Safety Professional.

Marjorie has more than 30 years of experience in the Seniors Complex Care and Housing sectors. With her skills in strategic planning, finance, and food services administration, she has successfully led several interdisciplinary teams. She has been a member of provincial, municipal, and private boards and committees established to provide guidance to the governance of various seniors related organizations.

Yvette Elmquist

Regional Director, Quality Care
Yvette Elmquist is the Regional Director, Quality Care for Optima Living's Alberta and British Columbia communities. She graduated from Misericordia Hospital’s Nursing program in 1976 with Honours. She has earned the AHS Leadership Award, an Ethics Certificate with Covenant Health from St. Boniface in Winnipeg, a Harvard Management Mentorship, and other achievements.

Yvette brings a wealth of experience to Optima Living, having served as a Registered Nurse for 44 years and as a leader in Designated Supportive Living, Long Term Care, and Acute Care. Across her decades of healthcare experience, she has AHS Manager of Cardiac ICU UAH, the Edmonton General LTC Manager, the Director of Care at Optima Living’s Century Park, and many more. She is passionate about professional care delivery and employee support.

Wei Li

Senior Director, Finance
Wei Li is Senior Director, Finance at Optima Living. She has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Dalian University in China and a diploma in Accounting from the University of British Columbia. She has also been a Certified Public Accountant since 2006.

Wei is a financial professional with more than 15 years of experience leading a broad range of accounting and controller responsibilities. With her accounting knowledge and management skills, she has served in several industries, including both publicly-listed and private companies, and was highly recognized for her proficiency in accounting reconciliations and reviews, financial reporting and analysis, coaching, and leading high-performance teams to ensure maximum accuracy and productivity.

Janice Hall, CPA, CMA

Controller
Janice Hall is a Controller at Optima Living. She attended the University of Alberta and obtained her Certified Management Accountant designation in 2004.

Janice is a finance executive with over 20 years of experience as Controller, including over seven years at Shephard’s Care Foundation and nine years at Deloitte. Her extensive experience in financial reporting and operational management roles has gained her a strong reputation for attention to detail and effectively bridging the gap between operational decisions and financial targets. In her spare time, Janice enjoys golfing and travelling.

Shelley Jones

Senior Human Resources Manager
Shelley Jones joined Optima Living as Senior Human Resources Manager in February 2021. Shelley's responsibilities include employee and labour relations, recruitment, performance management and compensation design, as well as contributing to the senior leadership team.

Shelley brings over 35 years of human resources management experience to Optima Living, including nine years in assisted living and continuing care. Shelley is skilled and experienced in labour relations, human resources strategic planning, organizational development, conflict resolution, and the development and implementation of numerous HR programs and initiatives. She attended the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, and the University of Victoria for general human resources management, conflict management and adult education respectively.

Shelley and her husband operate a farm near Edmonton where they raise Angus beef cattle and spend time with their grown children and grandchildren. In her free time, Shelley makes handmade artisan soap as a hobby and has recently begun working on obedience training of their new puppy Jasper.

Our Story

Our Roots

Optima Living took root in 2007, when our founders Karim Kassam and Farid F. Damji, two friends who loved and cared for the seniors in their lives, crossed paths while working at the provincial health authority. They began dreaming of a way to welcome other seniors into a different circle of care, one that truly honoured their own parents and grandparents, who had served as such sources of inspiration. Discovering their shared desire to give back to their community and shared passion for improving seniors’ well-being, Karim and Farid were soon jotting ideas on a restaurant napkin. These ideas evolved into Optima Living and inspired the logo you see here, with its joyful person under a sheltering roof.  In 2015, Ali Shivji joined the Optima family as Principal. As part of this added capacity, the principals focused their efforts to grow in the Alberta market and increasingly investing in new innovations and developments.

Our North Star

Since then, our co-founders’ vision of a truly homelike place for seniors has grown into more than a dozen Optima Living communities serving hundreds of seniors and their families across Alberta and BC. At every decision-point and in every community, our North Star is this: Let us welcome you home. Home, where you’re safe. Home, where you’re respected. Home, where your voice is heard, your views matter, and you have freedom of choice. 

Let us welcome you home: It’s our invitation to you. And it’s our North Star, guiding everything we do.  

Our Grounding Principles

Optima’s mission, vision, and values support and point to this North Star.     

Our mission: to provide an intimate, home-style living for seniors. You are the focus of everything we do.

Our vision: every person living in our communities feels at home. Here, you experience the best quality of life possible, and your voice is heard. 

Our core values: 
• We promise to respect you
• We promise to uphold your dignity
• We promise to work together with you and your persons of choice
• We promise to do the right thing

It’s All About You

Three key ingredients breathe life into our principles: people, place and community. At Optima Living, you’re surrounded by people who welcome you warmly and become your neighbours, friends and care partners. You’re in a place that feels like home, with opportunities to fill your days as you see fit and freedom to explore the neighbourhood. You’re an important part of a vibrant community, engaging in your choice of activities and living with purpose. 

Our Chosen Privilege

At Optima Living, we are always on a mission to improve—to learn more about what it means for seniors to be at home in our communities. We reach out to knowledge leaders and community partners who help us offer all the ingredients for healthy, active and fulfilling days. We use our expertise and what we learn from knowledge partners, including the University of Alberta and the University of Manitoba, to incorporate the latest research into your care and advocate for your well-being as needs arise. 

Everyone at Optima Living understands the honour and responsibility that comes with serving seniors and their families. Our chosen privilege is to offer not just care but also peace of mind—to “walk with” rather than merely “do for” the seniors who live with us. Whatever your journey, when you join an Optima Living community, you’ve come home.

“We are absolutely committed to making a positive difference in the lives of seniors. For us, that’s the most meaningful work we can do. We believe that if we do right by seniors, then everything else will fall into place.” – Farid F. Damji