” The Wrinkly Ranch is the shocking memoir of a long-term care worker whose stories are used to forward suggestions for system improvement.
Tristan Squire-Smith’s unvarnished memoir The Wrinkly Ranch gathers his unpredictable daily experiences with working in long-term care facilities.
Sans embellishments, this book works to provide clear images of its scenarios, all of which take place in long-term care facilities. Squire-Smith recalls that residents’ family members are prone to calling the facilities’ staff members with unrealistic instructions, such as to serve wine to their loved ones at a specific time, or to fluff a person’s pillows. Statements from such people are often repeated verbatim.
But the book also covers logistics, like the roles of different departments within a facility, and how each staff member contributes ti a facility’s smooth running. The daily activities that staff members carry out, and the common interactions that they have with residents, are detailed in involving terms. Squire-Smith writes with care about some health issues that elderly people face, recommending practical ways for family members to help their relatives. Significant issues regarding long-term care that need to be addressed are also named.
Each chapter is topical and brief. There are discussions of how long-term care facilities prevent and control outbreaks when they arise; about how body parts change as people age; and expressing the belief that ever resident matters. In the process, Squire-Smith also captures the close bonds that develop between residents and staff members, recalling how one resident expressed trust in him, discussing their absent family members just moments before passing on.
Beyond being informative, the book is also amusing. There are stories about residents exchanging dentures by mistake and smiling with ill-fitting teeth; other joke about death, making lists of what they wont miss when they’re gone. Some residents give the staff members funny nicknames, too, or call each other “loony” in the midst of dementia. Such moments are a source of balance, particularly paired with the grave discussions that occur elsewhere (for example, Squire-Smith remembers instances of verbal and physical assault, and of xenophobia, directed against staff members).
From his experiences, Squire-Smith mines tips for those with loved ones in long-term care, or who may end up in long-term care facilities themselves. The book advises being prepared for all eventualities, as well as writing and updating one’s will. Family members are urged to make funeral arrangements beforehand, and to be proactive in assessing their elderly family member’s well-being. A sense that is important to learn the criteria of admission in advance is imparted.
The Wrinkly Ranch is the shocking memoir of a long-term care worker whose stories are used to forward suggestions for system improvement. “
“A nurse offers a humorous perspective on the complicated world of long-term care.
Squire-Smith’s collection of short stories is intended to highlight the daily realities of living and working in long-term care facilities. “The more unbelievable the story,” the author writes of his outlandish anecdotes involving the older patients and residents he takes care of, “the more likely it is, in fact, based on lived experience and truth.” Individual chapters are less tales so much as general topics that Squire-Smith wants to address about life in a long-term care facility. He then punctuates the subjects with anecdotal asides and quotes from his memory or reconstructions of conversations he has often had with patients. Chapter topics range from misunderstandings among colleagues and how laundry and maintenance work in such a large facility to the harsh realities of how people’s bodies change as they get older and how employees try to cope with the difficult health issues they confront daily. The author often interjects “hints” or “notes” that make the chapters feel like a manual for anyone wanting to learn more about these facilities (prospective nurses or relatives of future residents). “NOTE: In terms of quality of life,” Squire-Smith writes before an argument for having dessert first, “the sense of taste usually sees the least amount of deterioration as we age.” The author’s humor will not please everyone, a fact that he is rather open about in his introduction. His writing is bombastic, filled with profanity, and often gravitates towards a kind of juvenile humor when discussing defecation and fornication among the residents. But he still shows a lot of heart and deep passion for his work (even when making a lost of how to get out of tasks). Squire-Smith also provides an admirably balanced and uplifting view on how the system needs fixing but is not irreparably broken. Above all, through every dirty joke, he returns to a message of dignity that may readers will appreciate: “Older adults are just that…adults.”
An unflinching, engaging, and universal, if sometimes crass, look at getting older.”