Sliced avocado on sour dough bread
Sliced avocado on sour dough bread

Is there really such a thing as ‘Geriatric Millennials’?

The term, used to describe those born between 1980-1985, has been dubbed ‘ageist’

Saman Javed
Monday 17 May 2021 13:30

A new term that describes the oldest subset of millennials as ‘geriatric’ has sparked outrage amongst thousands of Twitter users.

According to a recent Medium article, titled Why the Hybrid Workforce of the Future Depends on the ‘Geriatric Millennial, this group of millennials are people born between 1980-1985. 

Comfortable with both analogue and digital forms of communication, they were the first cohort to grow up with a computer in their homes and can easily recall the days before the advent of Myspace and Facebook, Erica Dhawan, an expert on digital teamwork writes.

“Geriatric millennials are valuable because they have a varied skillset to refer to — one that lets them cater to the needs of people with different degrees of understanding of (and patience for) the digital world,” Dhawan says.

Previously, the oldest group of millennials were known as “cuspers”, or Xennials. These are people who are not quite old enough to be part of Generation X but don’t completely identify with Millennials.

Although her article is positive – geriatric millennials are “neither ignorant” of technology “nor so engrossed in it that a voicemail inspires fear” – those who fall into this age bracket have been left reeling at the thought of being described as “geriatric” while still in their late 30s.

“Congrats, I am both insulted and inspired,” one Twitter user said. Another wrote: “This is the rudest way to tell me I’m the best for something.”

Others griped with the idea that the popular culture they grew up with is now considered “old-school”.

“In the last hour I learned I’m a geriatric Millennial, read that there are now Millennial grandparents, and heard Nirvana on the classic rock station (we already knew that Tupac/Biggie are “old-school” rap). I’d be excited for old age except no one can afford the retirement home,” one person said.

A minority of Xennials embraced their new title, pointing out differences between themselves and their younger counterparts.

“The line between Geriatric Millennial and simple Aged Millennial is whether you primarily used ICQ or MSN Messenger in your first year of university,” one person said.

Another wrote: “’I’m no geriatric millennial!’ he insists as he dives into his weekend routine of muesli and a crossword puzzle.”

Spurred by the backlash Medium poll conducted a poll to find an alternative name.

Of the 23,208 votes the poll received, 44.6 per cent of people said they prefer the term “Original Millennial” to “Geriatric Millennial”. Coming in second place is “Seasoned Millennials” which was favoured by 28 per cent of voters.

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