Abbotsford foundation opens respite lodge in Merritt

The Cold Water Ranch Lodge is operated by the Abilitas Foundation.

  • Oct. 20, 2013 4:00 p.m.
The Cold Water Ranch Lodge in Merritt is now open and awaiting its first guests. The facility was funded by the Abilitas Foundation in Abbotsford.

The Cold Water Ranch Lodge in Merritt is now open and awaiting its first guests. The facility was funded by the Abilitas Foundation in Abbotsford.

An Abbotsford-based charity is celebrating the grand opening of a respite facility in Merritt, providing a place for kids and adults living with disabilities, along with their families, to enjoy a place to rest, recharge and reconnect.

The Cold Water Ranch Lodge, funded by the Abilitas Foundation, a registered charity, opened Saturday, Oct. 19 and is the first of its kind in the province.

Abilitas Foundation founder John Glazema of Abbotsford said the lodge has been designed to overcome both physical and financial challenges.

Free of charge for those who qualify, the facility will soon welcome its first guests.

“After five years of hard work, the lodge is now ready for families to enjoy. Thanks to the dedication of our supporters and volunteers, our vision of creating an outdoor, barrier-free respite lodge has been achieved,” Glazema said.

The purpose of the lodge is to offer families that have a loved one with a disability a much-needed place to get away to and take a break from it all.

“Due to ongoing funding pressures, more and more families are finding themselves without much-needed services, so the timing of this lodge opening couldn’t be better,” said Arlene Schouten, disability advocate and parent.

Unlike typical approaches to respite, the Abilitas Foundation focuses on respite as a break for the entire family, rather than a “break from” a person living with a disability. “What we’ve learned from talking with many families is that they want to spend respite time together,” said Rachel Dekker, manager of the Abilitas Foundation,

“They need time to rest and recharge, but also time to reconnect, to strengthen their bonds, and to create memories together as a family.”

For more information and booking procedures, visit

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