In Oakland Township, Michigan, not too far from Rochester Hills and Detroit, a community is embroiled in a battle over senior living options. Back in 2012, the township’s officials approved a proposed senior development called Blossom Ridge, which would be built by local development company Moceri. However, in 2013, the location for the proposed senior community wound up on the ballot in the fall and was defeated by community residents by a 2-to-1 margin.

But now the developer and elderly community members, including Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (a disabled veterans advocacy group), are fighting back in a lawsuit, claiming the the rural township is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act with its unfair housing practices. Dominic J. Moceri, a partner with the company, said that what the town is doing is blatantly illegal, especially because the area has such a need for accessible housing for the elderly. According to his figures, nearly 17,000 people with disabilities live within 10 miles of the facility’s proposed site; that number matches the population of all of Oakland Township.

With approximately one million Americans in assisted living homes in the U.S. and many more poised to join as Baby Boomers retire, the need for comprehensive assisted living options is clear. The case in Oakland Township has helped raise awareness over the issues many people face when trying to find the best homes for seniors in their families. Two of those issues include:

Part of the issue with Blossom Ridge is that the town claims there is a zoning issue for the location. Residents of the town want the senior community to be located elsewhere — presumably away from already busy residential areas. Some residents cited the fact that other senior communities exist in the area, but not in the immediate township. As Mr. Moceri commented to the press, though, “Housing for the elderly and disabled needs to be in residential areas, not commercial areas… [and] Not stuffed along the edge of shopping mall.”

When searching for the best homes for seniors, all family members should consider location. The closer a senior home can be to a residential area and family members, the better. Overall, however, elderly family members should live in the community that they are most comfortable in.

Moceri also argues that the area simply doesn’t have enough housing for the disabled. This is the same claim that Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America has also made, calling the reversed decision by the town a discriminatory practice.

Seniors in assisted living often require extra help in their daily activities whether or not they have mobility issues. Approximately 40% of all seniors in assisted living require help with three or more of their daily tasks, such as dressing, bathing, eating, or even moving. The best homes for seniors should not only include staff on hand to assist residents but should also have wheelchair accessibility, safety railings in living units, and other amenities to make movement easier for the elderly.

What else is important for finding the right assisted living options? Let us know in the comments.