My parents have had a Mac as long as they’ve had a home computer, thanks to me, as I wanted the easiest interface possible (and somewhat to the frustration of my brother who’s closer to them but uses a PC). However, neither (now, my Mom) really understands what’s going on, and they could get into trouble.
This year I put a copy of Timbuktu on their and my computer. What Timbuktu does is allow one computer to control another, over the internet. Simple, but even I find it amazing and I’m pretty savvy about what these things can do! So now when Mom’s in a bind, she calls me, I turn on Timbuktu and her screen opens up in a window on mine and I can walk and talk her through that I’m doing to make things right. Even though we’re 400 miles apart. I also usually try to explain the underlying model so she’ll get better over time.
It’s not the only solution (and the constant nags to upgrade and auto=opening their web page is annoying), but it works reliably, is straightforward, and lets me solve problems from a distance. I think more and more of us will be in this situation, and having a good tool is a boon.