One of the great saviors of modern family life, I've found, when everybody is spread out over thousands of miles is Skype. It's relatively easy, flexible, powerful, and the grey brigade is taking too it pretty powerfully. I just recently came back from visiting my parents and relatives that I was sure I would never see working a computer were not only in my parents' address book but were online and available for conversation.
Older generation technology usage is very different than my generation or my kids' generation. They know that they don't know how to use these tools but generally are content to learn recipes by rote just to get communication going. But they pass on these recipes with the same sort of avid interest that they pass around knitting patterns. It's not a very well documented part of the technology world but it's real and it's growing. How that's going to change as my own generation ages and greys out is going to be fascinating, but I think I can wait to see it.