TFC News

FilAm goes viral on TikTok as grandma's caregiver

TJ Manotoc | ABS-CBN News North America Bureau Chief

Posted at Mar 17 2023 09:08 PM


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Like many members of the "Gen-Z" and millennials, Filipino-American musician Chris Punsalan has always dreamt of making it big on Youtube.

But little did this 29-year-old from Henderson in Nevada know that the kind of content he would need to create to become viral was one that hits closest to home.

In 2015, Chris and his family, who hails from Bamban, Tarlac, were faced with a decision of whether to send their grandmother to a senior care home, or hire a full-time caregiver.

Someone decided to step up. 

"She took care of me and I would hate to see her go to homecare, which is where I feel most grandparents go in America," said Punsalan. "They go to home care because nobody is able to take care of them."

Punsalan, being the digital creator that he was already sharing his music and documenting his life, decided to add to his content: his journey as his grandmother's caregiver.

This slowly built his audience on social media, eventually becoming a viral hit with a 2019 video that recapped a day in the life with his grandmother. 

"Many people saw it," Punsalan said. "I gained a lot of notoriety from that and I was shocked."

He added: "But at the same time, you kind of know that if you're posting these videos online, there's a chance of them being seen by a lot of people."

Being a caregiver for the elderly can be physically and emotionally challenging.

But through his TikTok videos, Punsalan has been able to show the most efficient ways to do it, with pride and joy. 

Punsalan, however, said what's hard for him is seeing his grandmother's health decline. 

"To see her forget who I am sometimes and for me to have to remind her," he said, "that's probably one of the more difficult things because it's a constant reminder that life is very fragile, and it's very short."

Despite the challenges, Punsalan said he continues to focus on the rewarding aspects of being a caregiver. For him, the priceless family bonding moments make it all worth it.

More than personal sacrifice and commitment to provide care, Punsalan shared one of the biggest lessons he has learned from the undertaking. 

"Cherish your grandparents and cherish your loved ones in general," he said. "Life is so fragile. It's such a cliche to tell your loved ones you love them because you don't know the next time you know that you're gonna get to see them or get to spend time with them."

As Punaslan continues to document his journey with his grandma on social media, he hopes that the millions of hits and views not only translate to followers and likes but more importantly to inspiring others to truly love and care for loved ones as much as they can while they’re still around.