Of vital concern internationally is the protection of one of our most vulnerable populations, the elderly, in times of disaster. This is especially true when the threat of disasters, both man-made and natural, is increasing. Recent disasters in the United States, especially Hurricane Katrina, have proven the inadequacy of current planning. It has been shown that 91% of long term care (LTC) health ... [Show full abstract] professionals and other providers felt ill-prepared to deal with public health emergencies and bioterrorism threats. Concern for the quality of life for LTC community residents and those elderly living at home must include intensive planning and preparation for emergencies/disasters that would compromise the safety of these most at-risk loved ones. The optimal approach to improving the ability of LTC communities to respond lies in appropriate, targeted, and effective training concerning how to create/exercise plans to respond to, and recover from, disasters. This work addresses major issues and challenges of disaster planning for the elderly. Suggestions are provided for concrete action, and a there is a call for the LTC community to move forward in being included in future planning efforts and the exercising of these plans.