"There is a great reluctance to talk about a lot of these topics, revolving around money, but it couldn't be more important," said Andy Seig with Merrill Lynch.
According to a new Merrill Lynch study, a growing number of baby boomers are supporting elderly parents and boomerang children who've moved back home after college.
"Retirement has really become a family affair, meaning that if we just talk about retirement in terms of an individual or a couple, we're missing most of the action," Seig said.
Topics parents should address with adult children include:
-- where they intend to live during retirement
-- plans for possible long-term care in the event of an illness
-- estate planning, not the happiest topic, but a crucial one
If there's no retirement plan in place, a family discussion is a good place to start. "The past is the past, going forward, you have an opportunity to do the best that you can using the resources you have. There may be some tradeoffs, and some decisions you have to make, but doing that now is far better than waiting."