Geriatric millennial definition: meaning of the viral phrase explained - and how to tell if you are one

A new phrase used to describe millennials on the older end of the spectrum has gone viral – but not everyone is happy about it

Millennials as a generation are accustomed to being made fun of - from Baby Boomers labelling them as avocado-lovers who only care about taking pictures of their vanilla lattes for Instagram, to Gen Z calling them “cheugy”.

Now, a new phrase has gone viral and it is yet another way to describe millennials, which many have not taken to kindly - the geriatric millennial.

This is everything you need to know.

Do you fall under the definition of a geriatric millennial? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Do you fall under the definition of a geriatric millennial? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Do you fall under the definition of a geriatric millennial? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Where did the term come from?

The phrase went viral earlier this week after Medium author and teamwork expert Erica Dhawan wrote that “geriatric millennials are best positioned to lead teams that will thrive in the hybrid workplace”.

The article states: “Geriatric millennials are a special micro-generation born in the early 1980s that are comfortable with both analog and digital forms of communication.

“They were the first generation to grow up with technology like a PC in their homes.”

Following the varied response to the term, Dhawan wrote a follow up article explaining why she refers to herself as a geriatric millennial.

She wrote: “Personally, I take pride in being a geriatric millennial: I was lucky enough to become a mom through a geriatric pregnancy.

“Plus, I certainly feel old — but more importantly, what’s wrong with being old? The fact that it carries a negative connotation for so many of us ought to spark some reflection on how we view older members of our society.”

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What is a geriatric millennial?

Dhawan defines a geriatric millennial as someone born between 1980 and 1985.

Using this definition, that means some celebrity geriatric millennials include Jake Gyllenhaal (born 1980), Serena Williams (born 1981), Anne Hathaway (born 1982), Andrew Garfield (born 1983), Avril Lavigne (born 1984), and Michael Phelps (born 1985).

Basically, a geriatric millennials can navigate modern technology like a pro, but can also excel in the “old” ways of communicating.

Dhawan says that "geriatric millennials can read the subtext of an SMS just as well as they can pick up on a client's hesitation in their facial expressions during an in-person meeting” and that “they are neither ignorant of technology nor so engrossed in it that a voicemail inspires fear”.

If you remember when Facebook first joined the online scene in 2004, or YouTube in 2005, or when the first iMac came out in 1998, or whe Toy Story was in cinemas for the first time in 1996 - you might just be a geriatric millennial.

What’s the difference between millennials and Gen Z?

Millennials, also known as Gen Y, are the generation following from Gen X but preceding Gen Z.

Generally, millennials are widely defined as those born between 1980 and 1996, although the dates can vary somewhat.

On the other hand, the Gen Z populus is made up of those born between the mid to late 1990s and the early 2010s. There is currently no fixed date or age range for those in Gen Z.

Oxford Dictionaries describes Gen Z as “the generation reaching adulthood in the second decade of the 21st century”. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Gen Z as “the generation of people born in the late 1990s and early 2000s”.